Economy Finance

Investment in Serbia rolls forward in early September

Early September has seen a plethora of new business deals, with Serbia increasingly seen to be an attractive investment target for investors from the EU and beyond.

New investment meals include that of Greiner Packaging acquiring Serbian ALWAG, supermarket chain Lidl having invested in a new logistics center and also government moves to strengthen cooperation in all directions.

Late last week (9.9.2022), German legal advisor Schoenherr announced that it had guided Greiner Packaging through the acquisition of a “100 % acquisition of Serbian PET flake producer ALWAG DOO NOVA GAJDOBRA from ALING-CONEL d.o.o. Gajdobra (Serbia) and REIWAG Facility Services GmbH (Austria).”

ALWAG is a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flake producer, and the acquisition marks the first Greiner recycling plant in the country.

“With this acquisition, Greiner is expanding its business model across the value chain and has now added the reprocessing of recyclable materials to its operations,” Schoenherr said in a press release. The firm added that “some recycled materials, all of which previously had to be brought in from external suppliers, will now be produced in-house. The group is also adding to its expertise in the recycling sector and will be able to gradually prolong the life cycles of its products.”

Likewise, Manfred Staek, CEO of Greiner Packaging and COO-elect of Greiner AG, said:
Taking this step makes recycling an integral part of our business model. At the same time, the acquisition consolidates our position as a pioneer of sustainability on the international market.”

Despite the fanfare, no details were released with regard to the value of the deal or the likely impact on employment in Serbia. Greiner has been developing and producing rigid plastic packaging for 60 years, using the vast array of production, decoration and barrier technologies at its disposal. The company’s packaging products are used in a multitude of food and non-food markets.

Meanwhile, the Serbian government trumpeted both local and long-term cooperation deals, with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic inaugurating food retail chain Lidl’s second logistics center, which reportedly will create employment for 250 in Lapovo. This center follows a previous investment in Nova Pazova and is assumed to represent Lidl’s continued plan for expansion in the country.

The 57,000 square-meter center is valued at EUR 70 mln.
Likewise, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic—somehow managing business promotion between meetings with EU and US officials over headbutting with Kosovo—announced further cooperation with Hungary, as well as a series of signed strategic partnership agreements with the United Arab Emirates.

Regarding the latter, following the culmination of weekend meetings, Vucic noted the beginning of new long-term partnership efforts that not only should streamline commercial law between both countries, but which will also tip a hat toward the protection of human rights with new efforts to prevent human trafficking.

In fact, new legal cooperation may have been somewhat overshadowed by the standard “commercial cooperation” talk, as noteworthy is the fact that Serbia and the UAE are now slated to have an extradition treaty and . better cooperation with regard to criminal justice matters and also new cybersecurity cooperation, although it was unclear as to whether this is primarily a commercial or government security matter or both.

Photo attributing of a Lidl outlet in Belgrade: GennadyL, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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