Gebrüder Weiss concentrates on CEE

Gebrüder Weiss CEO Wolfgang Niessner has revealed plans to invest in Austria and the Czech Republic.

Niessner said today (Weds) that his company – one of Central and Eastern Europe’s (CEE) leading transport and logistics enterprises – considered expanding some of its facilities. He said that the provinces of Salzburg, Lower Austria and Upper Austria were target destinations for possible investments in the foreseeable future. Speaking to the Kurier, Niessner added that business was prospering especially in the western regions of Tyrol and Vorarlberg but also in Switzerland and southern Germany.

Niessner told the Kurier that a new logistics centre situated in Jenec near Czech capital Prague would be put into operation within this year. Gebrüder Weiss is spending 15 million Euros on its construction, according to Niessner who also disclosed that the Lauterach-based firm could imagine expanding some of its representations in Bulgaria and Hungary.

Niessner underlined that Gebrüder Weiss fared well in Hungary in the past years despite the general downturn of the country’s economy. He added that his company achieved a turnover of 1.066 billion Euros last year by doing business in Austria and abroad. Niessner said that it was the first time that Gebrüder Weiss managed to take the one-billion-Euro hurdle. The logistics expert had a turnover of 978 million Euros in 2010.

Niessner told the Kurier that he was pleased with last year’s performance but warned that it was not the time for excessive euphoria. The businessman said that there were always “some clouds” and made aware of the immense difficulties his company experienced in 2009 when Austrian and foreign firms felt the full impact of a global crisis. Gebrüder Weiss’ turnover tumbled by 15.7 per cent from 2008 to 2009 to 830 million Euros. The company does not provide information about profits.

Niessner told the Kurier that Gebrüder Weiss planned to increasingly concentrate on the Caucasus region. The company started operating in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, only recently. Gebrüder Weiss is also represented in South America, the United States and Asia. The transport and logistics firm is part of joint ventures doing business in all of these regions. However, several affiliates of Gebrüder Weiss are operating all over the globe as well.

Speaking about Europe’s future Niessner said the region could only survive economically by focusing on excellent education and traineeship programmes, innovation and infrastructure as other regions would beat the continent as far as prices were concerned. He appealed to Europe’s movers and shakers to “leave this cosy comfort zone we have created for ourselves.”

The European Commission (EC) said earlier this week that the Eurozone was currently experiencing a “mild recession”. EC officials added that the average gross domestic product (GDP) of the group – which consists of Austria and 16 other European Union (EU) members – inched back by 0.3 per cent from the final three months of 2010 to the same time span of 2011.