Cash & Liquidity Management

Ten reasons to locate your treasury centre in Vienna

Published: Aug 2012

In this article, Alfred Buder, European Treasurer of Flextronics International Ltd shares with Treasury Today his love for the city of Vienna. Not only a great place to live, the Austrian capital is also a great place to run a European treasury centre.

Vienna is a charming city offering its residents a vibrant city life and a cosy village feeling at the same time. For international business Vienna is regarded as the gateway from western Europe into eastern Europe. So why not locate your European treasury centre here? Here are ten good reasons for companies to do so:

1. Quality of life

According to Mercer’s ‘Quality of Living’ report, Vienna is the number one place to be located. Mercer, an international consulting firm, performs an annual survey comparing cities from all around the world using a set of objective, neutral and unbiased criteria. The aim is to measure the quality of living for expatriates based on 39 criteria grouped into ten key categories, including political, socio-economic and environmental factors.

For three years in a row Vienna has been in pole position, ahead of cities like Zurich, Munich, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt. Vienna offers a safe, stable and clean environment with high quality housing, school, medical, transport and recreation facilities.

Moreover Vienna offers a lot to see and do. The modern public transport system operates 24 hours a day and opens up a wide range of entertainment possibilities. Nevertheless, the city has retained its unique ’village’ atmosphere, meaning that it’s not a hectic or stressful metropolis. In the summer, Vienna’s numerous parks are crowded with young people enjoying the weather. And in winter the traditional Viennese cafés and pubs are the ideal place to relax after an exhausting day. Give it a go and feel at home!

2. Bridge into eastern Europe

Both geography and history contribute to the fact that companies have successfully set up and grown into central eastern Europe from the city of Vienna. Just look at the facts to see why:

  • Vienna International Airport flies to 43 destinations in central eastern Europe and is the leading air hub for the region.
  • Anywhere in Europe can be reached from Austria within three hours.
  • Travelling by car you can reach the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary in under two hours.
  • Driving from Vienna to Munich, Prague or Budapest will take less than four hours.

In addition, the ties of a common history have opened CEE markets to Austrian multinationals, many of them based in Vienna. International companies like Beiersdorf, Henkel and Siemens have located their CEE headquarters in Vienna. Austrian banks like Bank Austria (now part of UniCredit), Raiffeisen International and Erste Bank are among the leading commercial banks in the eastern European countries. As such, your Vienna treasury centre will be close to the headquarters of your main eastern European banking and business partners.

The modern public transport system operates 24 hours a day and opens up a wide range of entertainment possibilities.

Overall there is a cultural and geographical proximity to central eastern Europe along with a common spirit of western Europe that makes Vienna the perfect meeting place for people from eastern and western Europe.

3. European Union and Eurozone benefits

Managing pan-European business from an entity within the European Union and performing treasury activities from a Eurozone country is a precondition for many international groups. No other Eurozone country is so close to eastern Europe. No other location has turned from a peripheral region of western Europe to a central hub for a new Europe so obviously within a few decades. Austria is in the heart of Europe and strongly supports the prosperity of its eastern neighbours. Yet the local currency is euro and the legal standards fully reflect European Union laws. Thus, local conditions are no different from Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt or Paris.

4. Taxation

Currently the Austrian corporate tax level of 25% cannot be regarded as low, but a modern system of group taxation – optional for Austrian companies holding more than 50% in subsidiaries abroad – is attractive for multinational companies extending the scope to losses generated by foreign subsidiaries of Austrian resident companies. Individual income tax is charged at progressive rates from 0 to 50%, depending on the annual income. There are many deductibles!

Austria is in the heart of Europe and strongly supports the prosperity of its eastern neighbours.

The good news is that the Austrian stamp tax – a 0.8% tax formerly charged on all loan transactions signed in Austria – was abolished in 2011. This means that new bank and inter-company lending contracts can be setup in Austria without triggering tax obligations now.

5. Politics and society

Austria offers a stable political situation and an open, friendly society. Social standards are high and unemployment rates are low. The extent of social contentment is reflected by the extremely low number of strike days: 0.8 days per 1,000 employees from 1998 to 2007.

Additionally Austria is regarded as the safest place in the world as far as the protection of personal security and private property are concerned. This is according to the latest World Competitiveness Yearbook.

6. Education

Not only has Vienna been rated as the number one city to live in and to do business in, it has also has been pronounced as the fifth best city for students throughout the world by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company known for university rankings.

This result refers not to university standards but rather to the high quality of life. Experts from QS stated that this high quality of life “combined with culture and affordability, [mean that] Vienna can hardly be beaten”.

Vienna offers three big Universities to choose from: the Vienna Economics and Business University, the Vienna University of Technology and the University of Vienna, which all offer a wide range of different fields of study. In other words, Vienna’s education facilities have something to satisfy everybody’s interests.

For younger children Vienna offers international education facilities like the Vienna International School, the American International School, the Lycée Français, and many others.

7. Labour force

Young professionals trained at Vienna Economics and Business University, Vienna University of Technology and other universities are available for international companies at reasonable salary levels. Young Austrians are well motivated to work for international companies and language skills are high.

8. Office space

Office space in Vienna is available either in city centre buildings or in modern office buildings. In the outskirts of the city, new tenants are attracted by extremely competitive rents. According to a study by CB Richard Ellis, an international real estate provider, Vienna ranks among the cheapest European capitals along with Prague, Budapest and Berlin, way below Brussels, Rome or Frankfurt and only charging a fraction of the rental prices charged in Zurich, Paris or London.

Austria offers a stable political situation and an open, friendly society. Social standards are high and unemployment rates are low.

9. Support from local authorities

The Vienna Business Agency has been offering support to national and international companies settling in Austria’s capital city for 30 years. The local government agency offers comprehensive support services to international firms of any size which want to set up business operations in Vienna.

For support in your personal life, the Vienna Expat Centre can assist in finding you an apartment, a school for your children and can provide whatever information you might need to prepare for your move to Vienna.

“We help to make the start-up in Vienna as easy as possible, from initial consulting and finding suitable office space and commercial properties to assistance with public authorities and information on public funding. The Expat Centre makes it possible to further optimise our service offering for international firms“, explains Gerhard Hirczi, Managing Director of the Vienna Business Agency, which founded the Expat Centre.

10. Culture

At weekends, after an extensive breakfast in a traditional Viennese café, you might want to take your family to see the Imperial Treasury. Rather different to corporate treasury!

Portrait of Alfred Buder

About the author

Alfred Buder lives and works in Vienna. He has been in the treasury business since 1993, working for banks and corporates. Since 2009 Alfred has headed up the European treasury team of the electronic manufacturing company Flextronics.

Many thanks to Alfred’s daughter, Alicia Prager, for providing her views on student life in Vienna.

All our content is free, just register below

As we move to a new and improved digital platform all users need to create a new account. This is very simple and should only take a moment.

Already have an account? Sign In

Already a member? Sign In

This website uses cookies and asks for your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.