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Foreign investment in Northern France: 2013 results

04 Mar 2014 | A region on the move

Foreign investment in Northern France rises steeply in 2013

Foreign investment up sharply in Lille region

IFA’s “2013 Report on Job-creating Foreign Investment in France”, published Monday, February 17, confirms that investment for Northern France rose steeply compared with 2012:

  • +81% rise in jobs created or saved (2,737 jobs vs. 1,514 in 2012)
  • +17% rise in investment decisions (41 projects vs. 35 in 2012)

This regional upturn comes amid a patchier performance for France as a whole, where the total number of new projects eased down from 693 in 2012 to 685 in 2013, and the number of jobs created or saved rose 14%, from 25,908 in 2012 to 29,631 in 2013.

This strong showing by Northern France led to an equally strong rise in its share of the 2013 total for France, with the region home to:

  • 6% of the national total of new investment decisions (vs. 5.1% in 2012 and 4.3% in 2011)
  • 9.2% of the national total of jobs created or saved (vs. 5.8% in 2012 and 4.8% in 2011)

In all, Northern France accounted for nearly one in ten jobs created by foreign businesses in France in 2013.

Investor profiles

The IFA report shows that countries already represented in the region—through companies from Belgium, Japan, the UK and the USA—accounted for the largest share of investment projects, although both the Netherlands and Germany lost ground in 2013. As for business sectors, Northern France retained its historical appeal for manufacturers—outranked only by the Rhône-Alpes region for creation of French manufacturing jobs—while business services and engineering accounted for nearly one-third of the total.

Major projects cited in the 2013 investment report included the opening of an IBM Service Center at EuraTechnologies, a site slated to develop, manage and test software applications (700 jobs projected over three years); the arrival of Japan’s Kubota group, which plans to build a tractor assembly plant in Bierne, near Dunkerque (a €40 million investment, with 140 jobs over three years); a new site for Sweden’s Securitas Direct near Lille (200 jobs), and the purchase of Verrieries de Masnières by Austria’s Stölzle (450 jobs saved).

Taking into account the total inflow of foreign investment, Northern France remained France’s third-largest host region with over 55,000 jobs created since 1993.

Nord France Invest’s contribution to 2013 figures

Nord France Invest’s own performance shows that the regional development agency once again achieved its annual job target, helping create or save 1,500 jobs as part of nine completed projects. These included IBM’s start-up at EuraTechnologies, Kubota’s plant near Dunkerque, and expanded operations for Akebono and Häagen Dazs near Arras.

In another positive indicator, visits by potential investors rose 80% from 2012 to 2013—an encouraging sign for future projects and a clear reflection of the region’s higher profile outside France.

Nord France Invest also broke new ground in its efforts to promote Northern France, organizing events and launching new projects that included:

  • the first regional Welcome Day for foreign students (“I week 2013”)
  • the first European Automotive Industry Forum in tandem with the region’s automotive cluster
  • the first joint business fair mission, organized by Nord France Invest, CCI International and Pôle Ubiquitaire at the France-Singapore Innovation Days in Singapore.
  • launch of a prospective study focusing on 3D printing technologies in Lille Region, together with NFID.


Download the entire press release

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