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FIT, Flanders’ Agency for International Entrepreneurship, set up the Foreign Investment Trophy to reward foreign investors that sustainably strengthen the economic fabric of Flanders. Besides Nike, the French companies Total and Air Liquide and the German Lidl were also nominated for the award. In a short address, Flanders Minister-President Kris Peeters emphasized the importance of foreign investment for Flanders.
A marathon performance
Nike’s investment project involves the purchase of a 23 ha industrial site in Ham for the construction of a fifth distribution center for sports footwear. On top of a 35% capacity extension, this creates several hundred new jobs at Nike’s ELC, from university graduates to technicians or people without specific training.
The site will be operational by 2016. From then on all logistics activities between 200 factories and more than 100,000 delivery addresses will be coordinated from there. The extension supports Nike’s growth plans in Europe and enables the American sports goods manufacturer to speed up its supply chain and make it even more agile.
Nike and Flanders: one team
The great relationship between Nike and Flanders already spans several decades. The U.S. company is active in Laakdal ever since the early 1990s, initially for sportswear, but in 1995 and 2007, footwear and accessories were added. The opening of a fourth distribution center in Herentals, coordinating the distribution of sports equipment, enabled the expansion of the distribution center for sports footwear in Laakdal.
“We are very pleased with this victory,” says Kurt Van Donink, General Manager Nike ELC. “Especially considering the many great foreign investment projects in Flanders. For us, this award serves as a recognition of the hard work of—and I can’t stress this enough—an entire team.”
Claire Tillekaerts, CEO FIT: “Nike is an icon, but all four nominees have presented fantastic projects tonight. We are very happy to be able to put their projects in the spotlights with this award.”
Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) promotes Flanders as a place of business for foreign companies, but also supports Flanders-based companies in international entrepreneurship. They can make full use of the expertise of FIT and its national and international network.
Bart Matheï, FIT Public Relations Manager
+32(0)2 504 88 79
+32 (0)473 366 975