In May, the Bosch Group announced plans to set up a location for the manufacturing and development of automotive electronic control units at Tetarom, an industrial platform owned by the local council of Cluj-Napoca, in northwestern Romania. The German group will invest €77m in the facility, with construction work set to start in the second quarter of 2012. Manufacturing could begin by mid-2013. The resulting facilities will cover a total floor space of 38,000 sqm. Bosch plans to further expand the facility in subsequent years, and will assign it to its Automotive Electronics division, which manufactures electronic control units, semiconductors, and sensors for use in automotive technology and other areas.
The Bosch move is great news for Tetarom, which last year it lost its major tenant, Nokia.
After only three years of production in Romania, the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer closed its factory at the end of 2011, making 2,200 employees redundant. Nokia had invested around €60m in the Cluj production unit, but decided it would be more efficient to move all of its operations to Asia. Nokia was Romania’s second largest exporter in 2010, after Renault. Soon after Nokia’s departure, its space was taken by the Italian domestic appliances maker De’Longhi.
Cluj, in fact, has one of the highest occupancy rates in Romania, in terms of industrial space. The town is an important university center, with companies attracted not just by its production and logistics facilities, but also by the ready access to research and development staff. According to Gabriel Sfetcu, Head of Industrial at Cushman & Wakefield, the current industrial stock in the area is 75,000 sqm, out of which only 15,000 sqm is Class A.“ There is only 900 sqm production space available at Tetarom I, while Tetarom II is fully occupied and at Tetarom III there are 81 ha available out of a total of 152 ha,” says Adela Mirza, Marketing Specialist at Tetarom. There are plans to develop a fourth Tetarom park, on 85 ha, and the documentation was filed to the Regional Development Agency North-West in order to obtain financing. Rents at Tetarom stand at €6 per sqm/month for office space and €3 per sqm/month for production space. “We’ve looked at the market and reached the conclusion that our rents are correct. Demand is high, both for warehouse and production space and it comes from various fields: furniture-makers, pharmaceutical, printing, and IT,” Mirza adds. “At the moment demand for industrial space in the Cluj area stands at 30,000 sqm -40,000 sqm, while there is only around 15,000 sqm available,” says Gabriel Sfetcu.
Besides Tetarom, which mainly leases land for tenants to build on, Cluj offers a few other options currently: Nervia Industrial Park, Coratim Park, Olympian Park and CTPark Turda (to be developed only if there’s enough committed demand), plus Graells & Llonch’s new industrial park, which will be developed speculatively. Nervia Industrial Park has recently seen an increase in its activity: the Dutch company Fensc is to move in, and Ulma Packaging has requested an extra 2,000 sqm of space. Fencs will start production of steel components and has rented 6,700 sqm, while Ulma Packaging – which until now operated on 3,300 sqm – will see its capacity increased to 5,500 sqm when expansion is completed. Bosch also announced last month the extension of an existing plant in Romania, in Blaj, central Transylvania, which will create 300 new jobs by the end of 2013 and a further 700 by the end of 2020. For the extension of the plant in Blaj, construction will start in the spring of 2013 and the investment will reach some €43m. The new premises will cover 21,000 sqm.
The Bosch Group currently has three locations in Romania and Cluj will be its fourth. In Bucharest, it has a sales company for power tools, thermotechnology, security systems, and automotive aftermarket products, and it runs a communication center in Timisoara. In Blaj, it has a manufacturing facility for linear-motion technology, which is currently being expanded to include manufacturing operations for automotive technology. The German group currently employs 1,400 people in Romania.