Over the years, Luxembourg has emerged as a solid hub for finance, logistics, information and communication technology and automotive components.
Located in the heart of Europe, Luxembourg is the ideal gateway to the European market, with over 500-million consumers. The country has Europe’s top three industrialised countries – Germany, France and Belgium – as its neighbours and, thanks to this strategic location, 80% of the European Union’s (EU’s) gross domestic product can be serviced in a radius of 700 km.
The country is open to the world. Markets and decision-making centres are close by, and neighbouring countries form part of a ‘greater region’ which looks to Luxembourg as an economic motor. This region is not only a rich source of skills – with 150 000 commuters crossing the borders each day – but it is also a familiar market.
Luxembourg is also the fulcrum of academic endeavours, with 14 universities and 370 000 students within a 90-minute drive.
Owing to the small domestic market, businesses have to export to thrive, so road, rail, air and water connections are state of the art. From the neighbouring regions, with nearly 11-million consumers, the focus then moves to the rest of the eurozone, the EU and then the world.
For example, Luxembourg hosts the corporate headquarters of a wide variety of busi- nesses, including ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker; RTL Group, a major European broadcaster; SES Global, the world’s leading satellite firm; Cargolux, the tenth- largest cargo airline; and number one Internet telephony firm Skype. The country is a major production, research and development hub for other world-class businesses too, including Goodyear, Delphi Automotive, chemicals firm Dupont and glassmaker Guardian.
In recent years, the Luxembourg government has targeted high-end economic development in a wide range of areas, including logistics, biotechnology, intellectual property, shipping and green technologies.
Luxembourg is the wealthiest country in the developed world, with the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development putting gross national income per capita at nearly $64 000, 19% higher than next-placed Norway and 30% more than both the US and Switzerland. This has been achieved thanks to a high-performing world-class financial sector, with the investment fund industry ranked second in the world and the private banking business seventh. Other varied financial businesses add to this mix which, together with supporting services companies, accounts for around 50% of output.
The rest of the economy is focused on the pro- vision of high-value-adding goods and services for local and foreign markets. In all these acti- vities, it is the skills and multilingualism of the people and a business-friendly environment which are the keys to the Luxembourg success story. Business taxes are low, with the country ranked 145th out of 181 in terms of overall business attractiveness in the most recent surveys by the World Bank.
Luxembourg Companies at Hannover Energy Fair
• ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steelmaker, with a presence in more than 60 countries. Its heat-resistant grades fulfil the strictest requirements for power plant construction. Renewable-energy industries can rely on long-steel products for the fabrication of solar panel support structures or for windmill components. The latest success is the production of large hot-rolled angles L300 × 300 for use in very tall lattice towers that significantly increase windmill efficiency.
• Boson Energy, which is devoted to sup- plying distributed sustainable energy and fuel solutions to industry and energy entre- preneurs. The company offers a biomass ‘CHP’, which is based on the novel H3TAG gasification technology that uses a coreless cocurrent hybrid bed gasifier. The Boson system creates a stable and tar-free producer gas from woody biomass, which is geared to run a gas engine.
• Cleancarb, which supplies state-of-the-art energy storage systems for all types of applications, including automotive, rail, construction, marine transport, solar systems, medical systems and a range of electric vehicles. Cleancarb is active in several Framework Seven European Union research and development projects in associated fields. Examples of such projects are Somabat and V-feather.
• KÖHL Group, with headquarters in Wecker, Luxembourg, offers clients innovative system solutions in the energy, automation, machine engineering, intralogistics and technical building management sectors.
• LEE, based in Junglinster, which is Luxembourg’s flagship company for biogas plants.
• Independent engineering company Synerco, which was established in 2008 to develop and realise the European research and development project, Enercom, in Luxembourg, the aim of which is to demonstrate high- efficient polygeneration of electricity, heat, solid fuels and high-value compost/fertilisers from sewage sludge and greenery waste.