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BASF (Germany) claims the Lifetime Achievement Trophy at the Foreign Investment Trophy 2017

Five decades after opening its first base at the port of Antwerp in Flanders, German chemical giant BASF wins the Lifetime Achievement Trophy at the Foreign Investment Trophy 2017.

The awards ceremony took place at the Ghelamco Arena in Ghent on February 21, and was organized for the fifth year in a row by Flanders Investment & Trade. With the prestigious event, the government agency underlines the importance of foreign investment as a crucial driver of Flanders’ economy and a vital source of employment.

Wouter De Geest, CEO of BASF Antwerp, received the Lifetime Achievement Trophy from Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport. In addition to BASF, two other foreign companies were recognized during the Foreign Investment Trophy. Norwegian wood producer Kebony won the title of Newcomer of the Year. The French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi took home the coveted Foreign Investment of the Year trophy.

Recognition for half a century of investment in Flanders

“I consider the fact that we won this trophy as an encouragement to continue in the same spirit,” comments Mr. De Geest after BASF’s victory at the Foreign Investment Trophy. “It’s reassuring to know that Flanders appreciates the decades-spanning investments and efforts of BASF and our employees.”

The German chemical company first set up a base in Flanders in the early 1960s. At the time, BASF was scouting out a location for a new Verbund facility: a large-scale, integrated production site. Antwerp emerged as the ideal option. Some of the decisive factors were the interesting location in terms of logistics – in the northern part of the port of Antwerp – as well as the availability of government support to help realize the project.

Three investment waves later, the Antwerp site grew to become the second-biggest BASF production site around the globe. Today, around 3,100 employees work there, and the German chemical company continues to funnel an average of approximatively € 150 million per year into its Flanders-based site.

In 2015, for instance, BASF announced a major investment in Antwerp. The site will be the company’s first to be expanded and equipped with cutting-edge technology to produce superabsorbent polymers. In proportion to their own mass, these polymers can absorb huge amounts of liquid, making them ideal building blocks for diapers and incontinence products.

Leading role in Flanders’ chemical industry

“Apart from strong local anchorage in Flanders, BASF also boasts a leading role in the future of our region’s economic landscape,” says Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. “BASF is not only strategically important for the further promotion of Antwerp as Europe’s largest chemical cluster; the German chemical company also commits to Flanders on socioeconomic and ecologic levels.”

It’s the first time that a European company takes home the Lifetime Achievement Trophy. In doing so, BASF claims its spot in the limelight next to American multinationals Johnson & Johnson and ExxonMobil, as well as Volvo Cars, which operates under the Chinese Geely group.

More information about the Foreign Investment Trophy and the winning investments is available at www.foreigninvestmenttrophy.be.

Quotes

Congratulations to BASF on winning the Lifetime Achievement Trophy. A deserving victory: in the past 50 years, the chemical company has invested continuously and at a high level in its production site in Antwerp. The Lifetime Achievement Trophy is an acknowledgment of those numerous efforts and BASF’s unrelenting trust in Flanders. Foreign investment is, after all, a crucial part of our economic landscape. Last year, for instance, foreign companies invested EUR 1.87 billion in Flanders, representing 198 new investment projects and creating 4,260 new jobs.

Claire Tillekaerts (CEO Flanders Investment & Trade)

Foreign investors like BASF play an essential role in the economy of Flanders and employment in our region. That’s why I am delighted to present BASF with the Lifetime Achievement Trophy. It’s a major acknowledgement of half a century of investments that have fortified both the chemical industry in Flanders and the petrochemical cluster in Antwerp. The fact that BASF continues to invest an average of around 150 million euros per year in its Antwerp site and the 3,100 people working there further highlights to the importance of this foreign investors for Flanders.

Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport

Press contacts

John Verzeele, Director Inward Investment, john.verzeele@fitagency.be, +32 2 504 88 83.

Thomas Pollet, spokesperson Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport, +32 474 69 56 08 - thomas.pollet@vlaanderen.be

About FIT

Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) actively promotes sustainable international business throughout Flanders as a key element in the socio-economic development of the region. FIT accomplishes this by supporting Flanders-based companies in their international business ventures and by attracting foreign investors. FIT assists and encourages businesses across the Flanders region in their international endeavors and provides custom advice and support. Companies can call on the agency’s rich network of contacts both within the region and globally. FIT also offers financial support and information about the range of financial incentives available.

22 February 2017