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Sanofi (France) wins Foreign Investment of the Year trophy at the Foreign Investment Trophy 2017

On Tuesday February 21, 2017, Flanders Investment & Trade organized the Foreign Investment Trophy for the fifth year in a row. During this prestigious event at the Ghelamco Arena in Ghent, Sanofi claimed the grand prize with an investment in its biotech factory in Geel, Flanders. The French pharmaceutical firm received the Foreign Investment of the Year trophy from Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. With the awards ceremony, the government agency underlines the importance of foreign investment as a crucial driver of Flanders’ economy and a vital source of employment.

Sanofi’s investment received the majority of the votes after three rounds of voting. In addition to a professional jury, the public also cast its vote online. During the awards ceremony itself, a third and final voting determined the overall winner. Sanofi gained victory over four competitors: air-conditioning specialist Daikin (Japan), sporting goods retail chain Decathlon (France), vinyl flooring manufacturer IVC (US) and package delivery company UPS (US).

Sanofi wins trophy for investing in production and R&D in Geel

Sanofi emerged as the winner for its recent investments in Geel, Flanders. There, the French pharmaceutical firm is currently channeling no less than EUR 300 million into its state-of-the-art biotech factory. The site will not only welcome 100 new employees; its production space will also be expanded by 8000 m2 for the creation of monoclonal antibodies. These are used as an active ingredient in the latest generation of biological medicines.

“Over the past 15 years, over EUR 900 million has been invested here,” explains Gunther Pauwels, General Manager of Sanofi Geel. “There will be plenty of room for future expansion after this current investment round.”

BASF (Germany) and Kebony (Norway) also victorious 

In addition to Sanofi, two other foreign companies were recognized during the Foreign Investment Trophy. Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and sport, presented BASF with the Lifetime Achievement Trophy, honoring the German chemical company for 5 decades of investment in its production site at the port of Antwerp. Finally, Norwegian wood producer Kebony received the title of Newcomer of the Year for building its very first factory outside Norway in Flanders.

More information on the winning investments by Sanofi, BASF and Kebony can be found on


I would like to congratulate the whole team at Sanofi on their victory at the Foreign Investment Trophy. The Foreign Investment of the Year trophy is a token of acknowledgement and appreciation for their commitment to Flanders. Foreign investments are a crucial driving force behind our economy. Not only do they create new jobs; they also help convince other foreign companies to invest in our region. Last year, foreign companies invested EUR 1.87 billion in Flanders, representing 198 new investment projects and creating 4,260 new jobs.

Claire Tillekaerts (CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade)

The fact that Sanofi has won the trophy for Foreign Investment of the Year is the crown on an impressive investment of no less than EUR 300 million. In addition to creating 100 new jobs, Sanofi’s investment highlights some of Flanders’ most important assets: van extensive expertise in pharmaceuticals, life sciences and biotechnology to a broad pool of motivated and highly educated talent.

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

Press contacts

John Verzeele, Director Inward Investment,, +32 2 504 88 83.

Thomas Pollet, spokesperson Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport 
+32 474 69 56 08 -

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