4 German manufacturers that chose to build their plants in Lithuania
Lithuania has been a valued partner of Germany for quite some time. The Baltic country has much experience working with German companies, such as Continental, Rehau, Schmitz Cargobull, Bär Cargolift, among many others. But what have those companies achieved in Lithuania, and why did they choose to invest in the country?
Schmitz Cargobull paved the way for other German companies
Any overview of German companies’ success in in Lithuania must start with Schmitz Cargobull. Europe’s leading manufacturer of trailers and trucks for temperature-controlled freight, Schmitz Cargobull took over AUVIGA, a Lithuanian manufacturer of similar products, back in 1999. It has operated in Lithuania since then. According to public data, Schmitz employs over 800 people at its plant in Panevėžys Free Economic Zone (FEZ), Lithuania. Here the company manufactures insulated trailers, semi-trailers and isothermal panels.
In 2018, Schmitz Cargobull launched an expansion initiative worth 27 million Euros. They planned to build an additional 6,000 sqm of production facilities. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this plan was delayed.
Continental brought the largest ever greenfield investment to Lithuania
The second emblematic case of German-Lithuanian collaboration is Continental. Employing over 35 people at its plant in Kaunas Free Economic Zone, this German automotive parts manufacturer began operations in Lithuania in October 2019.
Although that number of employees is impressive, other milestones reached between Lithuania and Germany are even more significant. Continental’s plant in Kaunas was awarded second place in the Emerging Europe Awards in the ‘Best FDI Project’ category.
Continental managed to build its 22,000 square metre premises for production, administration and storage in little over 15 months. As expected, the plant in Kaunas meets all the requirements of Industry 4.0, including automation , environmental protection and sustainability. Moreover, there is significant support from the municipal government in Kaunas, which coordinates free public transport routes, kindergartens. Whereas bicycle lanes are planned for both Continental’s employees and the community.
During its three years of operation, Continental has had such a successful start in Lithuania that the company is now planning to employ more than 500 additional staff by 2025 and double its manufacturing output. Meanwhile, the plant size will be increased by 15,000 square meters.
REHAU chose Lithuania for important reasons
Up next is REHAU. Together with YIT, a Finish real estate developer, and the local government, the German plastic giant REHAU has announced that it is building a new factory in Klaipėda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) , Lithuania.
At present, REHAU is planning to employ around 200 people and the factory itself will measure over 20,000 square meters. According to REHAU, they will produce 9,000 tons of underfloor heating pipes and 20,000 tons of cable ducts at the facility. These products were previously manufactured in Austria.However REHAU decided to relocate production to Lithuania, due to its talented specialists who have a professional attitude and stellar work ethic. REHAU was also attracted by Lithuania’s streamlined and business-friendly economic environment. Indeed, such is the company’s confidence in Lithuania that they are planning to leave some free space for future development.
Bär Cargolift’s plant of the future
Finally, Bär Cargolift. Europe’s second-largest automotive tail-lift manufacturer, Bär Cargolift built its 9,500 sqaure metre factor on 3.5 hectares of land. The facility has an A++ energy efficiency rating and is equipped with a special heating system, which uses less than 15 kWh of energy, per year per square metre. Bär Cargolift has also vowed to only purchase electricity from renewable energy sources. Indeed, a significant proportion of such energy will be generated on the plant’s 185 kW solar rooftop.
At present, the facility employs around 40 workers. However, this number is set to gradually increase to 100. Most of these employees are metalworking professionals and equipment operators, while in the future Bär Cargolift plans to establish an IT centre to develop technological and engineering solutions for improving tail lift controls.
What is unique about the facility is that it has a lot of natural light and lighting that minimises eye strain. Meanwhile, air temperature is maintained by the latest ventilation and circulation systems. The plant has automated folding and laser cutting processes. Besides, five robotic component welding stations in operation.
The new plant in Šiauliai is estimated to reach 7 million Euros in turnover by the end of 2022, and potentially 20 million in 2025.
All in all, Bär Cargolift’s plant is a welcome addition to Lithuanian engineering sector, as it is the pinnacle of sustainability, innovation and Industry 4.0.
Lithuania is now a salient partner for Germany
German manufacturers are investing in Lithuania as it has EU-leading higher education numbers. In fact, Lithuania has a very diverse talent pool, with over 41,500 engineering and 31,500 IT specialists – plus more than 40,000 students in these disciplines combined. Furthermore, Lithuania is ranked 2nd globally by Bloomberg for ‘tertiary efficiency’.
Set against the new industrial revolution, which invites further cooperation between EU member states, the economic relations between Germany and Lithuania are steadily intensifying. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the resumption in diplomatic relations between Germany and Lithuania. Both countries have achieved much during this period. Today there are more than 90 German companies operating in Lithuania, employing over 70,000 staff.
We look forward to more cooperation and prosperity in the future.
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