The annual Foreign Direct Investments report produced by Business France and the French regions was released on Monday, February 27, 2023.
The Hauts-de-France region has confirmed its position as France’s second-largest host region for foreign investment in terms of the number of jobs created, with over 8,400 jobs created for the second year in a row.
But for the first time, the region also ranked second nationally for the number of projects secured, just behind Paris Region, with 205 investment projects, up 50% from 2021.
These are very positive indicators, which show the attractiveness of Hauts-de-France at its highest level on the French scene.
Expansions continue to drive job creation
The significant increase (+50%) in the number of projects concerns both site creations and site expansions.
In 2022, as in 2021, half of the projects were expansions, compared to 43% of creation projects. They have allowed for the creation or maintenance of 66% of jobs.
When a group invests in its local unit, it sends a very positive signal of confidence to the region. It confirms the presence of the conditions that are needed to maintain the site’s performance in a global strategy.
Takeovers and buyouts were also up from 2021 (14 vs. 9) and represent 13% of jobs.
More than a third of projects and jobs for production
As in the previous two years, industry was still the top investment sector for international companies in 2022. Thus, 71 production projects (i.e. 35% of this year’s total) were carried out, for 3,090 jobs created or maintained (i.e. 37% of total jobs). The Hauts-de-France region’s genuine industrial culture and expertise plays a significant role in the nation’s reindustrialization, especially in strategic sectors.
The American group Chemours, a leader in various strategic markets such as titanium technologies and high-performance materials, has decided to invest €220 million in its Hauts-de-France site at Villers-Saint-Paul in the Oise region, which will allow for the creation of 80 jobs.
The group’s goal is ambitious: to strengthen the impact of Nafion™ proton exchange membrane technology, thereby contributing to decarbonization on a global scale.
The choice of Hauts-de-France is in line with a common vision of sustainable growth and reinforces the impact of the REV3 initiative, led by the Hauts-de-France Region, a genuine social project aimed at making the region a European leader in the economic transition.
Sales outlets and personal services have grown significantly compared to 2021 and represent 17% and 13% of the projects in the 2022 report, respectively.
R&D, engineering and design centers have followed the same trend, with almost a fourfold increase in the number of projects between 2021 and 2022.
The percentage of company services remained stable with 13.6% of total projects in 2022 compared to 12.5% in 2021. However, they account for nearly a quarter of the jobs, thanks in particular to the Manpower and Randstad projects, which together created 1,781 jobs. This is due to the success of temporary contracts among companies.
The number of new logistics-related sites has also increased, but to a lesser extent in terms of employment than in 2021.
Production, company services, personal services and R&D, engineering, design accounted for nearly ¾ of the increase in projects between 2021 and 2022.
The industrial profile of the Hauts-de-France region confirmed
The business and distribution sector represented the highest percentage of projects (17%) and jobs (14%). The large population of our region has historically attracted retailers. With the successive announcements of new gigafactories being set up in Hauts-de-France, the attractiveness of the automotive sector is growing. It represents more than 9% of projects and 11% of jobs.
“The Hauts-de-France region continues to attract international companies. This attractiveness is creating jobs for our inhabitants and also allows for the development of the territory. The Hauts-de-France Region is investing and working with economic stakeholders to reindustrialize our region, in particular through the development of gigafactories and the battery industry. We will continue the work in 2023 for the future of Hauts-de-France. “
Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France Region.
2/3 of the increase in projects between 2021 and 2022 was focused on 4 sectors: Business & distribution – Metals & metalworking – Automotive & equipment manufacturers – Furniture & household equipment.
In response to the strong growth of the electric vehicle market in Europe, Renault has chosen the Asian group Minth to create a joint venture for the production of battery containers.
This ambitious project is the latest addition to the regional electric vehicle ecosystem, following the creation of Renault’s ElectriCity cluster and the arrival of the three Gigafactories. The production site will be located in a former 43,055 sq. ft. Renault site in Ruitz and will supply Renault ElectriCity for the French and British markets.
250 jobs are expected initially, with a production capacity of 300,000 battery containers per year by 2025.
A new podium of investor countries in 2022
While the United States was until now the undisputed number one investor country, its position appears more questionable in 2022. It remains number one in terms of the number of jobs (thanks in particular to Manpower) but has dropped to fifth place in terms of the number of projects.
It has been replaced on the first step by Germany, followed in a more classical way by Belgium.
The United Kingdom has made a remarkable entry on the podium with 24 projects that have created 627 jobs.
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