Other nominees for the award were Swiss company Datwyler and US-based Pfizer. The Japanese chemical concern specializes in the production of acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers. These products are used as raw materials for diapers, sanitary napkins, adult incontinence products, and so on. As this is a rapidly growing market, the company decided to expand the number of production plants worldwide.
In May 2015, Nippon Shokubai announced plans to build a new facility in Zwijndrecht, Flanders, set to become the company’s largest plant outside Japan. Other locations competing for the investment included the group’s production plants in Indonesia, China, Singapore and the United States. Totaling EUR 350 million, the investment will create 70 new jobs and will solidify the company’s presence in Flanders for years to come. Construction of the new facility commenced in November 2015, while commissioning is scheduled for May 2018.
Quotes Geert Bourgeois: “The Investment of the Year Trophy highlights the importance of international companies for our region. I want to thank and congratulate Nippon Shokubai for their commitment to Flanders. The Trophy is awarded as a token of recognition and appreciation for this commitment. Recent investment figures have shown that last year, Flanders recorded the highest number of investment projects – 227 to be exact, representing EUR 2.7 billion and 4,350 jobs. Equally significant is the fact that 22 percent of those investments were aimed at research and development, which is vital for the future of our industries.”
Claire Tillekaerts: “I wish to congratulate Nippon Shokubai on receiving this Trophy. Foreign investments help drive the economy in Flanders, and the Foreign Investment Trophy is awarded to emphasize this fact. We also like to look ahead: FIT is continuously innovating and expanding services toward foreign enterprises. Following an in-depth evaluation process, FIT decided to optimize its international network in 2015 by opening new offices in the US and Canada, among others, with the sole purpose of attracting new investors.
FIT also launched FINMIX International, a dedicated program offering expert guidance and advice to companies in Flanders – including those of foreign origin – in search of the best possible funding for their international business pursuits.”
Hidetaka Yatagai, President of Nippon Shokubai Europe: “We are extremely proud of the fact that Nippon Shokubai has chosen Antwerp as a new base for expansion. It underlines the position of Flanders as an important commercial center and of Antwerp as a chemical cluster.”