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Flanders Investment & Trade awards two export players who put Flanders on the world map through top-level technological innovation.

Genk, 18 September 2019 – Technology company Luminex Network Intelligence (Genk) and technical textile producer Sioen Industries (Ardooie) are the winners of the 18th edition of the Export Lion Award – #LvdE19.

With this prestigious award, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) annually invites companies from Flanders to take the stage. CEO Bart Swinnen of Luminex and CEO Michèle Sioen and Commercial Director Jan Mortier of Sioen Industries received their awards from Clair Tillekaerts, managing director of FIT.

In the category ‘Companies with up to 49 employees’, Luminex Network Intelligence surpassed two companies from East Flanders: Ghent-based health technology company Ontoforce and hygienic crash protection systems manufacturer PolySto from Lokeren. Sioen Industries, on the other hand, won out over Construx, a manufacturer of formwork systems in Hulste, and MARELEC Food Technologies, a manufacturer of intelligent sorting and portioning machines in Nieuwpoort, in the category ‘Companies with 50 or more employees’.

Luminex Network Intelligence – Export Lion 2019 in the category ‘Companies with up to 49 employees’

This born global from Limburg was established in 2002 and developed an innovative network solution to simplify the control of light, sound and video. From festivals such as Tomorrowland to football stadiums, concert venues and theaters, the user-friendly Luminex system is appreciated on a global scale by professional entertainment industry stakeholders.

Huge potential, even beyond the entertainment industry

Today, Luminex is active in 45 export markets. These are served by a worldwide dealer network and its own representative offices in France, the UK, Canada and Japan. In 2018, the 22 full-time equivalents achieved an export turnover of EUR 4,796,529 euros, or 92% of the total turnover.

The next few years will see the further expansion of existing support markets, as well as the exploration of a number of new regions, including India, China and several emerging markets in Latin America. In addition, the broadcasting world is also an attractive goal for the Genk native.

Distinctive technology conquers the world

Luminex Network Intelligence swayed the jury with its impressive growth record and strong focus on innovation in a very specific niche. The company is in the process of conquering the world with distinctive technology, while opting resolutely for a firm foothold in Flanders.

Meet Luminex Network Intelligence, winner in the category ‘Companies with up to 49 employees’ (video in Dutch):

Sioen Industries – Export Lion 2019 in the category ‘Companies with 50 or more employees’

Hailing from Ardooie, West Flanders, Sioen manufactures yarns, fibers, fabrics, pigments, coated technical textiles and professional protective clothing. In 2018, the 4,697 full-time equivalents of this listed family company generated EUR 458,110,000 in export turnover, accounting for 91% of the total.

A combination of organic growth and acquisitions

Over the past five years, the firm has recorded spectacular sales growth of 55%, partly resulting from a number of targeted acquisitions. Today, Sioen has 25 branches worldwide and 12 sales offices. Sales offices were recently opened in Dubai and the USA, and the manufacturer made acquisitions in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Australia.

Global market leader in technical textiles and protective clothing

Sioen products are sold in 127 countries worldwide and leads the world in technical textiles and protective clothing. In addition, Sioen is constantly tapping into new segments where its expertise can make big impacts, such as geotextiles and bullet-proof clothing.

Innovation as the key to international success

Sioen Industries successfully convinced the jury with its extensive focus on R&D, among other areas. By continuing to innovate, the company succeeds in being one of the only Flanders-based textile companies to achieve strong, steady growth, both within and outside Europe. Sioen combines this expansion with investments in Flanders.

Get to know Sioen Industries, winner in the category ‘Companies with 50 employees or more’ (video in Dutch): 

The Export Lion Award as an ambassador of Flanders’ export success

Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade: “Each of our nominees proves how important a critical, innovative mindset is to make a difference in the international playing field. For laureates Sioen and Luminex as well as for nominees PolySto, Ontoforce, Construx and MARELEC, this was the key to success at home and around the world.”

The history of the Export Lion Award

For the 18th year running, with the Export Lion Award, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) is honoring companies from Flanders that excel in export. Flanders’ Agency for International Entrepreneurship stresses the enormous importance of international trade for the economy of Flanders. The award ensures national recognition, but thanks to FIT’s foreign network, it also opens many international doors.

Former winners include Skyline Communications, Auxcis, MediaGeniX, DEME, Duvel-Moortgat, HTMS, Jaga, BOPLAN and Biobest Group. Their success stories are both exemplars as well as stimuli for other companies from Flanders with international ambitions. This edition, Altares Dun & Bradstreet, Credendo, ING Belgium, DHL Express, H.Essers, the Province of Limburg, POM Limburg, Locate in Limburg and Cegeka sponsored the competition.

Both companies with up to 49 employees and those with 50 or more can compete for the prestigious award. On 7 June, 3 nominees per category were selected from among more than 40 applicants. The jury based its assessment on, among other factors, export turnover figures, geographical diversification efforts, export policy lines, corporate social responsibility and innovative strength. These 6 nominees then presented their competition files to a 10-person jury on 9 September. The final decision was also made there.

In addition to chairpersons Claire Tillekaerts (managing director of FIT) and Bruno Segers (chairman of the board of directors of FIT), Dirk Van Steerteghem (head of International Trade at FIT), Marion Debruyne (dean of Vlerick Business School), Peter Lauwers (managing partner at KPMG Advisory), Christophe Flamen (transaction services sales manager at ING Belgium), Frank Zwerts (director of Locate in Limburg) and Luc Huysmans (senior writer at Trends) sat at the jury table. With Xavier Ramon (CEO of BOPLAN) and Jean-Marc Vandoorne (CEO of Biobest Group), the 2018 winners were also represented in the final jury.

18 September 2019