Austria Receives 1.4 Billion in Investments

Austria Receives 1.4 Billion in Investments

In spite of the gloomy forecasts, Austria continues to be a highly sought-after destination. The Austrian Business Agency (ABA) reported 12,700 consultations, 325 business establishments, and investments totaling to 1.372 billion euros in the past year.

Although there was a decrease in the number of foreign companies settling in Austria compared to the previous year (2022: 358), the investment volume saw a significant rise (2022: 491 million euros). This increase was due to a handful of large investments such as the one from the Japanese pharmaceutical firm Takeda. The number of ABA consultations also witnessed a noticeable surge, reaching 7,964 in 2022.

The ABA takes on the role of promoting Austria as a business location and offers free advice to international companies and investors looking to establish a business in Austria. It operates as a subsidiary of the Ministry of Labor and Economic Affairs and is fully owned by the federal government.

The Court of Auditors, which supervises the activities of the ABA, recently conducted an examination and discovered that the agency’s budget was being overstated by the ministry. From 2018 to 2023, the budget inflated by approximately 80 percent to 9.08 million euros, but the actual expenditure only exceeded the approved funds in 2021. The Court of Auditors also pointed out the absence of a long-term marketing strategy and criticized the ABA.

Responding to the criticisms, ABA director René Tritscher argued that there was no over-budgeting. He explained that budget planning was especially challenging during the pandemic and the ABA’s responsibilities had grown over the years. Surplus funds were always returned to the ministry down to the last euro. Tritscher dismissed the criticism with equanimity.

He also refuted the claim of paying excessively to consultants, maintaining that all payments were made strictly in line with the contract. According to Tritscher, the Court of Auditors did not identify a single instance where this was not the case.

Last year, the ABA’s “Invest in Austria” division, which handles the acquisition and support of international companies, addressed 1,354 inquiries from foreign companies. There were 325 company settlements and expansions, which are projected to create 2,419 new jobs. These settlements were primarily in the ICT sector (68), followed by business-related services (52), wholesale (41), and the energy and environmental sector (23). Additionally, 39 international start-ups were chosen for advice by the ABA.

Research and development were also conducted in 35 of the completed projects, predominantly in the pharmaceutical, medical technology, and biotechnology sectors. Tritscher emphasized that this underscored Austria’s continuous evolution as a research hub.

Most of the companies that settle in Austria are from Germany (95), followed by Italy (23) and Switzerland (22). The majority of settlements and expansions are in Vienna (188), Carinthia (25), and Styria and Upper Austria (22 each).