Magna confirms investment in Slovenia
Slovenia had paved the way for the investment in the north-east of the country with a special law to enable a speedy acquisition of land for the industrial zone.
According to Canadian news site The Globe and Mail, Magna CEO Donald Walker said at the presentation of the company's plans that construction in Slovenia is to start in the second quarter of 2017, when the Austrian subsidiary Magna Steyr starts the assembly of the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar Land Rover cars.
The government had identified the possible investment as a strategic opportunity for Slovenia and the region plagued by high unemployment, so a special act to guarantee favourable conditions for the investment was passed in parliament in mid-December.
Concerns were raised about sacrificing prime agricultural land for the industrial zone in the Hoče-Slivnica municipality on the outskirts of Maribor, as well as about the possibility of expropriation of owners unwilling to sell the plots envisaged in the act.
But since this option was envisaged as a last resort, the prospect of new jobs in a region battling unemployment outweighed the concerns.
Slovenia was chosen for its vicinity to Graz, where Magna Steyr already has an engineering centre and assembly plant, and also for the good transport connections of the location, with a motorway, railway and an airport all close by.