Foreign investments in Flanders hit record high


Investments in Flanders broke several records in 2019, including largest total amount, the most ever projects and the most new jobs

Show me the money

Investments from companies based abroad totalled €5.2 billion in 2019, an annual all-time high for Flanders. The figure includes companies new to the region as well as investments such as expansions and improvements at existing locations.

The 258 investment projects created nearly 5,400 new jobs as well, according to Flanders Investment & Trade (Fit), also record figures. The total investment figure is a marked improvement over 2018, up by 22.6%. According to Fit, the reason is large investments from the chemical sector.

 “These figures indicate that, despite the worldwide slowdown in economic growth and increasing trade tensions, Flanders remains a very appealing location for international investors,” said Fit CEO Claire Tillekaerts.

The US continues to be the top investor in Flanders, with 45 projects last year, representing a more than 17% share of investments. For the fifth year in a row, the US was closely followed by the Netherlands, with 40 projects.

Majority new to Flanders

A striking trend is the rise of British investments, which nearly doubled compared to the previous year (from 5.6% to 10.9%). With 28 projects, the UK completes the top three. Other top investments came from France, Germany and Switzerland.

More than half the investments last year were by companies new to the region. At nearly 56%, it’s the highest percentage of investments from new companies in 15 years. Mergers and acquisitions, on the other hand, represented a share of 30.6%, the fastest-increasing in the ranking.

Sales and marketing represented the top activity of all foreign investment projects in 2019, followed by R&D and manufacturing. Logistics also ranks high on the list of sector investments.

Fit is currently asking the public to vote for their favourite foreign investor as part of the Foreign Investment Trophy of the Year. Votes must be cast by 11 February.

Photo courtesy AGP Group