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International investments in Hauts-de-France rewarded

10 Jul 2018 | Front page, A region on the move

Find out which five foreign companies were recognized in Amiens on June 29, at the Hauts-de-France International Investment Awards 2018 ceremony! A close look at the event’s success.

investment, Hauts-de-France, FDI

A successful 3rd edition

As Xavier Bertrand pointed out at the start of the ceremony, Hauts-de-France is the second most attractive region in France for foreign investments, after Ile-de-France. Nord France Invest wants to keep this momentum going, because attracting international companies to the region is a priority for both the Regional Council as well as Xavier Bertrand himself.

Organized by Nord France Invest every three years, the International Investment Awards aim to reward foreign companies that have recently chosen to invest in Hauts-de-France.

This year, five companies have the pleasure of receiving an award, in front of an audience of nearly 200 representatives from the local socioeconomic scene, including numerous VIPs, such as Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France Region, Michel Lalande, Prefect of the Hauts-de-France Region, Philippe De Mester, Prefect of the Somme Department, Alain Gest, President of Metropolitan Amiens, Fany Ruin, President of the Amiens-Picardie Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Frédéric Motte, President of the Hauts-de-France French Business Confederation, Christophe Lecourtier, CEO of Business France, and more.

The four winners for 2018

All of the winners from the 2015 International Investment Awards – Agrafresh, Bridgestone, Ecophos, Kubota, and IBM – responded to our invitation to attend on Friday, June 29, 2018 and were able to present their award to their 2018 successor! Further proof of the commitment of foreign companies to their chosen region!

Family Business award presented to Altimance

Altimance is a subsidiary of the privately-owned British company Rigby, which has expanded through external growth within Europe. Specializing in computer services and software, Altimance set up business in Anzin (Valenciennes metropolitan area) in 2017 with plans to hire 280 people within three years.

Innovative Investment award presented to BYD France

The major Chinese electric bus manufacturer Build Your Dreams (BYD), founded in 1995, chose Allonne, Oise (Beauvais metropolitan area) for the location of its first French manufacturing plant for electric buses. Once established, the company plans to hire up to 100 people in phase 1, for an annual production of 200 vehicles.

This major investment strongly positions Hauts-de-France in the future-oriented vehicles and transportation sector.

Industrial Investment award presented to AstraZeneca

Located in Dunkirk (Dunkirk metropolitan area) for more than 30 years, the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, specializing in pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, continues to invest regularly in the Region, investing €26 million in 2014-2015 and €135 million in 2016.

A key global site for the group’s “inhaled medications” branch, it currently has 450 employees in Hauts-de-France, with annual revenues of €1 billion at its only site in Dunkirk.

Regional Loyalty award presented to MBK Industrie

Who doesn’t know Motobécane? The regional company started in 1924 in Rouvroy (Saint-Quentin metropolitan area) and was acquired in 1986 by the Japanese company Yamaha. It is now the group’s only manufacturer of scooters for the European market.

The largest employer in the metropolitan area with 600 employees, the company continues to invest, especially in the robotization of its manufacturing plant. In 2016, MBK invested €4 million to install two state-of-the-art plastic injection molding machines.

People’s Choice

This year, for the first time ever, the public was able to pick the fifth winner of the competition through a direct vote.

The four nominees in the category

  • AGCO: a subsidiary of the US company Massey Ferguson, specializing in the manufacturing of agricultural and forest machinery and located in Beauvais (Beauvais metropolitan area)
  • Ecocem France: a subsidiary of the Irish company Ecocem Materials Ltd, specializing in the manufacturing of environmentally-friendly cement and located in Dunkirk (Dunkirk metropolitan area)
  • Häagen Dazs: a subsidiary of the US company General Mills, located in Tilloy-lès-Mofflaines (Arras metropolitan area) since 1992 and specializing in ice cream manufacturing
  • SKF: a French subsidiary of the Swedish company of the same name, located in Rouvignies (Valenciennes metropolitan area) and specializing in high technology and high-precision bearings for aircraft


In the end, AGCO won the People’s Choice award for its new “Beauvais 3” expansion in 2017. The Beauvais 3 production unit, part of the site’s five-year development plan, is expected to create 100 new jobs and make Beauvais the group’s largest production site in Europe for the very latest lines of tractors.

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