In seven years, Leoni has invested 50 million euros in buildings, infrastructure and production equipment. Construction of a third factory is set to begin soon in Niš, while it employs 5,500 workers and plans to increase that number to 9,000, making it the biggest private employer in Serbia.
How would you describe the business environment in Serbia and do you have any suggestions on how it can be improved?
– From LEONI’s point of view, the Serbian business environment is quite good.
Quite good is the term I choose to use when describing the cooperation, efforts and commitment of the government and decision makers to supporting foreign investors. Their administrative support is prompt and organised proactively in all aspects of the business.
Great support is always provided by the municipalities in the locations where LEONI is situated. We would also like to highlight the support of the National Employment Service, which strongly supports new employees of our plants during the training phase.
A huge advantage is the labour market, with an unemployment rate of 46% in Prokuplje and 36% in Niš, which is able to support our growing activities. In return, the citizens of these cities and their surrounding will be able to find employment at LEONI.
How much has LEONI so far invested in Serbia and does the company plan to expand its operations in our country?
– LEONI was established in Serbia in 2009. During this period, we invested almost 50 million euros in buildings, infrastructure and production equipment. More than 5,500 people are working for LEONI today. Due to exceptional (favourable) preconditions, Serbia became a strategic country for LEONI when it comes to Wire Harness production.
Based on the mentioned facts, the LEONI board of directors has decided to build a third factory in the city of Niš. Construction will start by the end of 2016 and will be finished by the end of 2017. The planned investment totals more than 20 million euros. The expected headcount for LEONI Serbia will then be raised to approximately 9,000 employees. We will not hide the fact that LEONI is the biggest private employer in Serbia.
As a point or suggestions, the next steps of the Government of Serbia should be to develop supplier companies that will deliver production equipment to LEONI, with the aim of increasing the local content and avoiding import tax and long lead time. It will help to optimise processes and achieve rapidity in daily work, because LEONI’s business is a JIT business as a standard in the automotive world
Which of the company’s activities in the field of green technology and CSR would you like to single out?
– LEONI is using the most modern production equipment. Based on our high knowledge of F&E activities, we always use materials that have no negative impact on the environment. LEONI is constantly improving workplaces for employees in an ergonomic way. Our buildings are built as state of the art facilities, with low consumption of energy. All these parameters are in accordance with ISO 14001.
One of the crucial principals of our company is to promote and implement CSR in all segments of our business. LEONI is a strong supporter of its community, local activities, events and donations. One of our proudest donations is the construction project for a new children’s playground in one of our locations.