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    New Wuhan-Dourges rail link for Décathlon

    On Monday, November 20, a freight train from China will pull into the Décathlon warehouse in Dourges, launching a new weekly rail service between Hauts-de-France and Wuhan, in eastern China.

    Lille named World Design Capital 2020

    The World Design Organization has spoken, choosing Lille—in competition with Sydney—as the next World Design Capital from 2020 to 2022!

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    Croda’s long-term investment strategy

    03 Nov 2017 | Front page, Investment

    Specialty chemicals group Croda has invested steadily in its Hauts-de-France manufacturing site since 2006—most recently in a new production line to optimize profitability.

    Croda, investment, chemicals

    Focus on performance

    For 90 years Croda has been a world leader in surfactants used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and more. The UK-based group does business in 36 countries and has three sites in France, including a manufacturing facility near Chocques in Hauts-de-France. Since its opening in 2007, the Chocques plant—viewed by Croda management as critically important—has received a steady stream of investment, with €45 million earmarked for upgrades and optimization.

    Latest injection: €18 million

    In 2016, Croda announced an €18 million outlay for K68, a new production line that began operating in May 2017. Equipped with new-generation chemical reactors, K68 has added a dozen new products to the plant’s line-up and will boost production 20% to meet rising demand in many client industries.

    Maarten Heybroek, head of Croda Europe, said, “Our investments at Chocques won’t stop here. We want to keep expanding, making our plant more modern and more profitable.” Clearly Croda has an eye on the future, including plans to integrate more sustainable production processes to boost its energy performance further.

    Chemicals in Hauts-de-France

    Croda is one of 229 chemical companies operating in Hauts-de-France. Six, among them Bayer and L’Oréal, are truly international in scope, with sales of over €15 billion. The sector also represents nearly 18,000 jobs, ranking the region third nationwide for employment in the field.

    Hauts-de-France also has nine public R&D labs and centers of excellence, making the region a true focus of innovation.
    (Figures from a Xerfi survey on the attractiveness of Hauts-de-France, conducted in December 2015.)

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