Swedish industrial components manufacturer AQ Group said it has agreed to purchase a site in western Bulgaria for 5 million euro ($5.3 million) in order to establish a factory for the production of electrical cabinets in the country as it seeks to boost its business.
The property, with an area of 22,000 square metres, is located in Pernik, near Sofia, AQ Group said in a statement on Monday.
The new facility will produce sheet metal housings and will be in charge of the electrical integration for large battery energy storage systems (BESS) for the grid.
By 2024, AQ Group intends to invest a further two million euro for renovations and equipment at the Pernik site, which is an existing factory at about 50% ready to begin operations, AQ Group CEO James Ahrgren told SeeNews.
The Swedish firm plans to employ some 100 staff at the site next year, potentially growing the headcount to around 500 in the next few years depending on the rate of business growth, Ahrgren added.
AQ Group has already contracted orders worth 12 million US dollars and expects to double that amount in 2023. The company projects annual order volume to grow to 40 million US dollars in 2024, it said in its statement.
Present in Bulgaria since 1996 and employing a total workforce of 1,500, AQ Group has sales, product development and production operations here and owns three local subsidiaries which operate five sites in Sofia, Radomir, Godech, Kyustendil in western Bulgaria, and Veliko Tarnovo.
The listed Swedish firm, which also has a small production site in Serbia, also makes thermoplastic parts, wiring systems, inductive components and system products such as parking ticket machines. It employs about 7,000 staff in total at all its locations, including China, India, Canada, the US, Brazil and Germany, with over 80% in growth markets outside Sweden.
The group's net revenue in 2021 grew 14% year-on-year to 5.47 billion Swedish kronor ($543.6 million/513.4 million euro), with pre-tax profit rising 19.5% to 441 million. Sales in Bulgaria grew over 3% to 32 million kronor last year, AQ Group's annual report shows.
Last year, AQ Group won new business with a global European supplier of battery storage systems for renewable energy.