Borealis was the winner of the 2019 Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy. Flanders’ Minister-President Geert Bourgeois handed the trophy to Thomas Van De Velde, vice president of BU Hydrocarbons & Energy at Borealis. The Austrian multinational is funneling EUR 1 billion into the construction of a new propane dehydrogenation plant on its existing site in Kallo, at the Port of Antwerp. “With this investment, Borealis is strengthening the Port of Antwerp’s position as Europe’s largest integrated petrochemical cluster,” said Minister-President Bourgeois.
Borealis was voted the winner following three voting rounds involving a professional jury, the online public and the ceremony audience. The company competed against three other nominees: Chinese packaging expert CPMC, New Zealand logistics player Mainfreight and Japanese pharmaceutical and medtech specialist Nipro.
AGP Group won the 2019 Newcomer of the Year Trophy. Antonio Balata, vice president of AGP, received the trophy from Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. The Latin American producer of high-tech automotive glass parts invested USD 90 million in the acquisition of production company Soliver and the opening of a European headquarters in Ghent.
Claire Tillekaerts: “This trophy is our way of showing our appreciation for a company that’s just setting foot on Flanders’ soil for the first time. Attracting new investors is crucial to our economy. 2018 was a record year in that respect: foreign firms invested twice as much in Flanders as the year before.”
Finally, the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Trophy went to Japanese air conditioning specialist Daikin. Flanders’ Minister-President Geert Bourgeois presented Frans Hoorelbeke, chairman at Daikin Europe, with the coveted prize. “This trophy acknowledges the fact that Daikin has invested continuously in Flanders for more than 45 years,” the minister-president stated. “As a result, Daikin has become the biggest employer in Ostend and the local site has grown into the Japanese company’s corporate headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”