Industrial companies with Slovak capital did not continue in their transition to Industry 4.0 in 2020. Compared with the previous year, they are in the doldrums in both digitalisation and automation, due in large part to the Covid pandemic, according to a survey carried out by the Industry4UM organisation among 57 companies.
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The largest company in Slovakia in 2020 from the point of revenues was Bratislava-based carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia. The company kept its fifth position in the Coface CEE TOP 500 ranking and was the only firm from Slovakia in the Top 10.
Six out of 10 e-shops in Slovakia reported a growth in revenues during the pandemic, and one in three of those saw their revenues rise by more than 30 percent, the E-shop Barometer survey carried out by KPMG and the ui42 company showed.
Slovakia has the most jobs endangered by the automation of 28 developed countries, the 2020 Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows. As much as 64 percent of jobs are at risk, while 33 percent are at high risk.
The Nitra-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover launched the production of the hybrid models of Discovery and Defender.
Žilina-based carmaker Kia Motors Slovakia (rebranded to Kia Slovakia in May 2021) completed an extensive modification of its production line that should secure the manufacturing of a new generation of engines, which required a €70 million investment.
Carmakers in Slovakia produced 985,000 vehicles in 2020, 11 percent less than the year before.
A new state strategic industrial park will be built in Rimavská Sobota (Banská Bystrica Region) on a 65-hectare area and will provide 500 new jobs. It should be completed in 2023.
The US company Bloomreach, the leader in commerce experience, purchased a majority share of the Slovak startup Exponea. The companies did not reveal the acquisition price.
Johnson Controls and AT&T confirmed they were scrapping hundreds of jobs in their Bratislava-based business service centres (BSCs). Back in November 2020, another big multinational company, IBM, announced plans for scrapping 10,000 work positions in Europe, including Slovakia.
Slovakia placed 44th in the 2021 Bloomberg Innovation Index, down three positions compared to the previous ranking.
The Penta financial group agreed on selling the Mecom Group, which unites meat-processing companies in Slovakia and Hungary, including the biggest Slovak plant in Humenné (Prešov Region), to the US-based company Smithfield Foods. They agreed not to reveal the sum of the transaction.
The cabinet approved investment aid totalling €3.2 million in the form of tax relief for Hydac Electronic and Nestlé Slovensko. They promised to create a total of 107 new jobs in return.
The Volkswagen factory in Bratislava was awarded the Transformer of the Year prize, given to the plant that made the most progress in increasing the efficiency of the brand, for the second year in a row.
Slovakia scored 66.3 points in the Index of Economic Freedom, published by The Heritage Foundation, making its economy the 61st freest in the 2021 edition. Its overall score decreased by 0.5 point compared to the 2020 ranking, primarily because of a decline in the score for government spending.
Duslo Šaľa announced a plan to build a new plant to produce mineral granular fertilisers for €50 million.
The Penta financial group sold its 34-percent stock in the Petit Press publishing house, which issues the Sme daily and co-owns The Slovak Spectator, to the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-registered non-profit investment fund for independent media.
The majority share of the Bratislava shopping centre Aupark was acquired by Wood & Company and Tatra Asset Management. The sale with a price tag of €450 million has been labelled as the most expensive real estate transaction in Slovakia’s history.
The Ružomberok-based paper mill Mondi SCP launched a new machine costing €370 million as part of the modernisation of the paper mill in central Slovakia. A new production line will produce 300,000 tonnes of innovative packaging paper annually.
Slovakia has started cooperation with one of the best universities in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. In addition, a fund was created to support the joint scientific projects.
The European Commission approved Slovakia’s recovery plan. The country should receive altogether €6.3 billion to be spent on investments and reforms. The main priorities are education, health care, environment, innovations, digitalisation, infrastructure and effective public administration.
New car models, mostly hybrid and electric, will be added to the portfolio of the Trnava-based carmaker Stellantis Slovakia. The new production programme of the B segment worth €180 million, which has been the largest since the carmaker came to Slovakia, should be gradually launched in 2023.
European investors in Slovakia expect economic recovery in 2021. At the same time, their satisfaction with the local conditions has increased and a vast majority of them would invest in Slovakia again, a regular business survey carried out by several chambers of commerce showed.
Visionary designer Štefan Klein took a flight with his AirCar from Nitra to Bratislava, making it the longest flight of his flying car in the terms of distance.
The food delivery service Bistro.sk has been acquired by Dutch company Just Eat Takeaway.com, one of the largest players in this industry, for almost €50 million. It is considered one of the largest transactions in the Slovak food delivery industry in the past several years.
The Slovak and Polish gas transmission networks were directly interconnected. The new gas pipeline will become an important part of the European energy North-South gas interconnections infrastructure priority corridor.
Hella Group, a manufacturer of lighting technology and electronic products for the automobile industry, opened a development centre in Bánovce nad Bebravou (Trenčín Region), focusing on the development and construction of rear lights for all European vehicle brands in the group’s portfolio. It plans to employ 100 people by 2023.
The world’s biggest producer of car seats, Adient, confirmed the termination of production in the Trim Leader plant in Košťany nad Turcom, a village near Martin (Žilina Region). All 440 employees will leave the plant by the end of September 2022, and the entire production will be moved to plants abroad.
The cabinet approved investment aid for the companies Schaeffler Kysuce and MSK Matec Slovakia. They will receive nearly €6 million in total in the form of tax relief, for creating 75 new jobs in return.
German company Ziegler Group will become the first big investor to arrive in the state industrial park near Rimavská Sobota. It plans to build a wood-processing plant there, employing 430 people.
CSM Industry, situated in Tisovec (Banská Bystrica Region), will produce the components for Lynx KF41 combat vehicles manufactured by the German company Rheinmetall.
BSCs continued operating without any significant disruption to their productivity, with more than a quarter of companies even increasing their productivity. The number of employees working in the sector increased by 5.5 percent annually, as stems from a survey carried out by the Business Service Center Forum, running under the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia.
73 percent of CEOs in Slovakia expressed hope that the tempo of global economic growth will accelerate in the coming 12 months, while 55 percent believes their companies will grow in the coming year, a survey of PwC and Forbes magazine showed.
Slovakia placed 50th in the IMD World Competitiveness Index 2021, up seven positions compared to 2020.
The new bus station in Bratislava, Stanica Nivy, opened together with a shopping centre, an underground roundabout and car park, and an automated bicycle tower.
The social network Twitter bought the communication software Sphere, which transforms groups into vibrant communities, developed by Slovak Tomáš Halgaš and Briton Nick D’Aloisio. The price of the transaction has not been published.
The investments of banks into properties in the CEE region reported an annual drop of 22 percent. However, the volume of investments in Slovakia increased, the most in the region, according to the Property Lending Barometer 2021 study by KPMG.
The Bratislava-based company Voltia has partnered with carmaker Stellantis to extend its e-van portfolio. It announced the launch of five new XL models of e-vans with a volume of 11 m3 on the carmaker’s platform.
Due to a steep increase in energy prices and the record prices of emission allowances, two companies in Slovakia, Slovalco in Žiar nad Hronom (Banská Bystrica Region) and OFZ in Oravský Podzámok (Žilina Region), announced cuts to their production.