German manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries BMZ has announced that it will open a new production site in Skopje, the capital city of North Macedonia.

The announcement came during an official signing ceremony on 4 September at BMZ’s headquarters in Karlstein, Germany. The event was attended by representatives of the Government of North Macedonia and BMZ, who signed a contract detailing BMZ’s expansion plans in the Balkan country.

According to the press release, the company will initially rent a building around the area of Skopje, with plans to build a greenfield investment in Technological Industrial Development Zone Skopje 2.

Skopje 2 is a 140-hectare area 10km east of Skopje, hosting seven companies, mainly from the automotive industry. BMZ intends to run three units comparable to its BMZ units in Germany and create 600 new jobs in the region by the end of 2028.

“The decision of setting up a new production facility in North Macedonia was driven by BMZ’s tremendous opportunities of growth and the shortage of skilled workers in Germany as well as in Poland,” the company said in a press release. “In its business plan, BMZ plans to invest in both new lines, as well as relocate production lines from its facilities in Germany and Poland to North Macedonia with various automation levels.”

In addition, the German manufacturer named Jelica Ivanovska as general manager of BMZ North Macedonia. Ivanovska has previously worked for other international companies such as Johnson Controls, Visteon Electronics, Coca-Cola and Heineken.

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Foreign direct investment (FDI) in North Macedonia reached a net inflow of $696m (MKD39.99bn) in 2021, according to the World Bank. In August 2022, the country launched its first high-tech free zone called the Technological Industrial Zone – Skopje III in an attempt to “elevate the output of advanced technologies from North Macedonia to the world”. Last year, it came second in Investment Monitor’s 2022 Inward FDI Performance Index, which measures a country’s inward investment levels against its gross domestic product.