Metalwork and Machine Building Industry

Sector Highlights

  • One of Serbia’s core industries with the longest manufacturing tradition
  • Most of the companies are export-oriented because of internationally acknowledged quality and competitive prices
  • Highly-skilled workers and low labor costs
  • Quick and easy access to the key markets - EU, SEE and Middle Eastern customers

“The existence of educated and skilled workforce, incentives to investors, and the free trade agreements with the Russian Federation and Turkey, as well as developed infrastructure and favorable geographical position were the key factors for Grundfos investment to Serbia."

Jim Toft Nielsen, General Manager, Grundfos Serbia
*From the publication: Why did we invest in Serbia? USAID, September 2015

Sector Overview

Industry’s long tradition dates back to 1853 when the newly-built foundry successfully casted its first cannon, marking the start of the Serbian metals/machine building industry’s development, but also of the manufacturing in Serbia. Nowadays, it is still one of the most important sectors of the Serbian economy, accounting for 6% of national GDP, with highly-skilled workers, trained to meet European standards. On the other hand, labor costs are among the lowest registered in the Serbian industry. forest

Companies within the sector vary in size and structure, as the metal processing sector is relatively diverse. Large companies dominate the first part of the value chain, with significant economies of scale (production of primary metals, primary processing of metals), while the companies operating in the processing and manufacture of metal products subsectors are more specialized and customer-oriented SME's. In the secondary processing such as casting, pressing, processing and coating of metals, the share of SME's is 90%.

Metal-processing accounts for 20% of the Serbian exports as it has always been very export oriented and opened to collaboration with foreign companies. Italy, Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina are the most important markets, while thanks to the FTA with Russia, Serbia has a growth of export to Russian market.