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Northern France ranks as France’s No. 2 host region for foreign direct investment in 2014

19 Mar 2015 | A region on the move

In 2014, Northern France confirmed its constant progress in attracting foreign direct investment. With 47 projects and 3,077 jobs created or saved, Northern France was France’s No. 2 host region in 2014.

2014 results

Lille, France / March 19, 2015 — For the third year running, a report on foreign direct investment in Northern France shows increases in both investment projects and jobs in the region:

  • 47 projects, up 15% from 2013 
  • 3,077 jobs created or saved, up 12.4% from 2013

These figures are all the more impressive in that a report published yesterday by Business France (formerly Invest in France Agency) showed a more moderate 8% rise in the number of investment decisions nationwide (740 vs. 685 in 2013) and a 14% decline in the number of jobs created or saved in France as a whole—25,478 vs. 29,631 in 2013.

Region’s best showing since 2008

For Northern France, the 2014 figures represent the strongest showing since 2008, ranking the region second in France by number of jobs, just behind the Paris region and ahead of the Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur and Midi-Pyrénées regions. It was the first time since 2001 that Northern France reached second place.

Northern France also accounted for an even larger share of total foreign investment in France:

  • Number of projects: our market share rose from 6% in 2013 to 6.4%
  • Number of jobs created: we contributed a record 12.1% of the French total, up from 9.2% in 2013—our best performance since Toyota arrived in 1998!

Altogether, we accounted for 3,077 of a total 25,478 jobs created or saved in France by foreign-owned companies—nearly one job in eight.

More manufacturing projects, but more jobs in services

Countries already present in Northern France—Germany, the UK, Belgium, the US and the Netherlands—continued to lead the pack, with only Japan exiting the list. This year China was a key contributor through a major acquisition (Valdunes).

Business sectors identified in the report give manufacturing projects a slight lead (26 of 47), although service businesses accounted for 58% of jobs (1,776 of a total 3,077).

Most striking: 95% of investment decisions in the service sector led to job creation (only 5% were acquisitions), whereas in industry there was a near-perfect balance between jobs created (658) and jobs saved (643) as foreign investors took over struggling businesses. Major projects during the year included:

  • L’Olivier Assurances—this French subsidiary of UK insurance group Admiral set up a shared service center (client services, call and management centers, and IT services) in a 900 sq m facility at Marcq-en-Barœul in Greater Lille, creating 250 jobs over 3 years.
  • BCD Voyages­—the Dutch market leader in business travel opened a new hub in Lille, creating 100 jobs over 3 years.
  • Dispeo—Germany’s Otto GmbH expanded a parcel distribution logistics hub in Croix, creating 400 jobs.
  • Agrafresh—this Belgian company set up a production site for fresh, ready-to-use produce at the Actiparc business park in Athies, outside Arras, creating 60 new jobs over 3 years.
  • Ecofos—Belgium’s Technochem decided to start up a phosphate production facility at the former Total site in Mardyck, creating a projected 100 jobs.
  • Valdunes—China’s MA Steel, took over two rail equipment production sites—Trith-Saint-Léger and Leffrinckoucke—and saved 487 jobs.

 

2014 overview—foreign direct investments in Northern France By nationality and business sector

 

Nationality

Number of projects

Jobs created or saved

Germany

8

558

United Kingdom

5

523

China

1

487

Belgium

13

474

United States

6

409

Netherlands

3

183

Sweden

3

145

Canada

1

100

Other

7

198

Total

47

3 077

Business sector

Number of projects

Jobs created or saved

Aerospace, naval and rail equipment

2

522

Software and IT services

5

470

Trade & distribution

4

460

Textiles, industrial textiles, apparel and accessories

4

336

Other services

2

220

Financial services, banking and insurance

1

190

Electrical, electronic and IT devices 

4

163

Agrifood, farming and fishing

4

136

Other

21

580

Total

47

3 077

 

 

 

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