Saxony-Anhalt remains a highly attractive investment location for companies despite the Corona pandemic. In the crisis year 2020, the total volume of subsidized investment projects rose to 1.1 billion euros. According to the annual report of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, 90 company relocations and expansions were supported with grants totaling 136 million euros from the Joint Task "Improvement of the Regional Economic Structure" (GRW). More than 1,400 new jobs were created and almost 3,500 secured. In addition, 24 infrastructure projects with an investment volume of around 110 million euros were supported last year, bringing investment funding to a total of 1.22 billion euros, the highest level since 2014.
"Many companies in Saxony-Anhalt are looking ahead, even in the pandemic year 2020, and are setting the course for future growth with their investments," explained Minister for Economy Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann on Tuesday. He added that it had therefore paid off all round that, at the instigation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, investment funding for 2020 was almost doubled at short notice in October from 112.6 to 235.7 million euros. "The economic stimulus we provided as a reaction to the economic consequences of the pandemic is clearly having an effect," Willingmann emphasized. As a result, the additional 112.6 million euros (56.3 million euros each from the state and federal governments) were also almost completely committed through new approvals in 2020, thus generating further growth.
By contrast, it proved comparatively difficult to disburse subsidies for projects that had already been approved before 2020. As some companies were unable to implement their investment projects as planned when the Corona pandemic began, around a quarter of the funds made available were not called up last year (€27.5 million out of €108.3 million). "However, we know from discussions with the companies that the pandemic mostly only had a deferring effect," Willingmann explained.
The Ministry of Economics currently expects investment activity to continue to rise in 2021 and subsequent years. "Saxony-Anhalt has developed into an attractive investment location for a reason. During this legislative period, we have more closely interlinked business and science and made targeted investments in both areas. National and international companies alike come to us today because our first-class university landscape gives them access to highly qualified talent, even in times of a shortage of skilled workers, and they can drive their development projects forward in cooperation with our research institutions," Willingmann emphasized. "If we continue to invest consistently in business and science in the coming years, Saxony-Anhalt will continue to develop into a state of future technologies."
Linde and UPM invest in technologies of the future
Among the largest corporate investments supported in 2020 are the new biorefinery at a cost of 550 million euros of UPM Biochemicals GmbH in Leuna (Saalekreis) and the new electrolysis plant for the production of green hydrogen of the gas group Linde (also in Leuna). From 2022, biochemicals will be produced from sustainably sourced hardwood at the Leuna Chemical Park. UPM will create around 200 new jobs. The Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Economics is funding the investment with around 20 million euros. The Linde gas group is building the world's largest production plant for the generation and liquefaction of green hydrogen at a cost of around €60 million. From mid-2022, the group plans to produce up to 3,200 metric tons of hydrogen using certified green electricity; later, the electricity required will be sourced from renewable energy sources in the region. The Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Economics is supporting the construction of two so-called electrolysers and a hydrogen liquefier with 15 million euros.