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Three winners at the Foreign Investment Trophy 2017

On Tuesday February 21, 2017, Flanders Investment & Trade held the fifth Foreign Investment Trophy. During the prestigious event at the Ghelamco Arena in Ghent, three multinationals were acknowledged for their investment efforts in Flanders: German chemical giant BASF, Norwegian wood producer Kebony and French biopharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Investment of the Year trophy goes to Sanofi

French biopharma firm Sanofi claimed the grand prize for channeling EUR 300 million into the expansion of its biotech factory in Geel. Gunther Pauwels, general manager at Sanofi Geel received the trophy for Foreign Investment of the Year from Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade. Sanofi’s investment received the majority of the votes after 3 voting rounds. In addition to a professional jury, the public also cast its vote online. During the awards ceremony, a final voting declared Sanofi 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).

From left to right: Stéphane Vandendael (General Manager Sanofi Genzyme Belux), Philippe Muyters (Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport), Gunther Pauwels (General Manager Sanofi Geel) and Claire Tillekaerts (CEO Flanders Investment & Trade).

“We are thrilled with this trophy,” Mr. Pauwels commented. “We see it as a reward for 15 years of pioneering work. We are excited to remain on this path to make Flanders the biotechnology village of Europe.”

Through its award-winning investment, Sanofi will welcome 100 new employees in Geel. Its local production space will also be expanded by 8000 m2 for the creation of monoclonal antibodies – the active ingredients in the latest generation of biological medicines.

BASF takes home Lifetime Achievement Trophy

Five decades after opening its first base in Antwerp, German chemical giant BASF has won the Lifetime Achievement Trophy. Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport, presented the trophy to Wouter De Geest, CEO at BASF Antwerp. “This win is a recognition of all the generations that have contributed to BASF’s success, but also an incentive to continue connecting with and innovating in Flanders,” commented Mr. De Geest.

“This trophy underlines BASF’s decades-spanning investments that fortified Flanders’ chemical industry and the petrochemical cluster in Antwerp,” said Mr. Muyters. “The fact that BASF continues to invest an average of around EUR 150 million per year in its Antwerp site and the 3,100 people working there further highlights its importance for Flanders.”

From left to right: Bruno Segers (Chairman Board of Directors Flanders Investment & Trade), Claire Tillekaerts (CEO Flanders Investment & Trade), Philippe Muyters (Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport) and Wouter De Geest (CEO BASF Antwerpen).

Kebony is 1st Newcomer of the Year

By choosing Flanders as the location for its first production site outside of its home country, Norwegian wood producer Kebony secured the first-ever trophy for Newcomer of the Year. Christian Jebsen, CEO at Kebony, received the award from Michel Casselman, general manager at investment company PMV. “We are delighted with the warm welcome we have received in Flanders, and look forward to continuing our growth here,” commented Mr. Jebsen.

A total of EUR 20 million will be funneled into Kebony’s new site in Kallo, near Antwerp. For this, the Norwegian company received support from the government of Flanders and PMV. At the factory, 25 new employees will ensure the production of 20,000 m3 of wood per year. The factory relies on a patented production method that optimizes pine wood by means of a biobased liquid.

From left to right: Bruno Segers (Chairman of the Board Flanders Investment & Trade), Christian Jebsen (CEO Kebony), Philippe Muyters (Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport), Omar Roels (Engineering Manager Kebony Belgium), Bruno van den Branden (General Manager Kebony Belgium), and Claire Tillekaerts (CEO Flanders Investment & Trade).

Foreign investment in the limelight

“I would like to congratulate our three winners”, said Claire Tillekaerts. “The Foreign Investment Trophy is a token of appreciation for their commitment to Flanders. Foreign investment is a crucial driving force behind our economy. Last year, foreign companies invested EUR 1.87 billion in Flanders, representing 198 new investment projects and creating 4,260 new jobs.”

More info

Learn more about the Foreign Investment Trophy and the winning investments.
Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade
22 February 2017

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