Austria’s GDP is expected to grow by 2.7% in 2018, moderating to 2.0% in 2019, according to the European Commission. While the pace of growth is modest, Austria is by some margin the most affluent country in the region and one of the wealthiest in Europe, with nominal GDP per capita nearing $50,000. Despite the entry of the populist Freedom Party into government, Austria has maintained political and economic stability, with a mix of domestic demand, investment and exports maintaining momentum.
“The prevailing headlines are very good for Austrian companies right now,” says Horst Ebhardt, partner at Wolf Theiss Austria and head of the firm’s corporate/M&A team.

Austria has developed a diverse range of mid-size companies characterised by their specialisation, technical strength and adaptability, which has enabled some to gain global market share.
It is also home to several larger listed companies, which have built CEE-wide networks, such as Erste Group Bank. Recent years have seen growing attention from China and the Far East, particularly in manufacturing. Structural PE activity has historically been limited, partly due to the conservative outlook of family- and foundation-owned companies, but local funds and, increasingly, German PE players are active.
Downside risks come from the unpredictable global trade outlook, given the US’s sometimes hawkish policies towards China and others, as well as tensions between the EU and Russia over the situation in Ukraine.