Record sum for foreign investments in Flanders in 2018


Flanders appears to be attracting more foreign companies than ever. In 2018, they injected 4.24 billion euros into 234 investment projects, compared to 2.08 billion in 215 projects in 2017. Two records in one go, in other words. And in 2018, 5,339 direct jobs were created, almost as many as the record of 5,377 in 2017.

The US is the largest investor with 40 new projects. They are followed by our neighbours the Netherlands, France and Germany. Japan and China are in joint fifth place. Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, South Africa, Denmark and Turkey are also well represented.

Priority was given to completely new projects, rather than extensions, mergers and takeovers. The main emphasis lay on production, but Flanders is also an attractive market for investments in research and development, and sales and marketing.

Two major investors are the Austrian petrochemical company Borealis and the New Zealand service provider Mainfreight. Borealis is extending its site in Kallo, in Antwerp's port district, at a cost of 1 billion euros, by building one of the largest, most modern and most energy-efficient installations for the production of basic raw materials for plastics. Meanwhile, Mainfreight aims to set up an efficient distribution chain from a new logistics site in Zwijnaarde and, in doing so, requires 100 new employees.

Flanders assets include its location, port, well-educated people and the quality of its research institutions.