The Behr-Hella Thermocontrol GmbH (BHTC) investment in the Bozhurishte industrial zone outside Sofia has stimulated interest among other German investors, Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Bozhidar Loukarski said.
Loukarski was speaking after meeting BHTC technical director Andreas Teuner during a visit to the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
According to a media statement by the Bulgarian Economy Ministry, Teuner said that the first stage of BHTC’s investment had been implemented successfully and production was already underway.
At the end of 2014 and in early 2015, the plant was visited by representatives of BNTC’s major clients who had to licence the production facility in Bulgaria as a supplier, Teuner said. BHTC is manufacturing vehicle air conditioning system components for motor vehicle brands including Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Scania, Volvo, Skoda and Seat.
“German companies enter markets where there is an established and well-functioning presence of other companies, as is the case with Mexico, for example. In this sense, I believe that BHTC will be the first but not the last investor in the area in Bozhurishte,” Teuner said.
The Economy Ministry said that there had been inquiries from other investors to BHTC about opportunities offered by Industrial Zone Sofia – Bozhurishte.
One company was also in the motor vehicle industry and the other in human resources, in particular recruiting of researchers.
At the start of production at the BHTC plant in Bozhurishte, 90 people are employed there, and plans are for this to increase to 200 by the end of 2015 and to 300 in 2016. The company also plans to develop its research and development centre.
According to the ministry, Teuner said that a sense of stability was important to attracting foreign investment to the country, and this had been noticeable after the most recent election.
The ministry said that Loukarski also visited a German meat processing plant, which is in the process of selecting an appropriate location for expanding production in north Bulgaria. The company produces billets for the food industry, and currently supplies the market in Germany, Spain, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, among other countries.
The company plans to build a production facility in Bulgaria that initially will created 60 to 80 jobs that will later grow to 130. The company plans to source its raw materials locally, which will also create additional jobs, the ministry said.