Tilburg – February 15, 2019
The Brabant Development Agency (BOM) once again attracted more foreign companies to settle in the province or expand their operations in 2018. BOM Foreign Investments provided support to 41 foreign companies who invested a total of €306 million in Brabant and created 1,019 new direct jobs. The province was once again the third-largest host to foreign companies in the Netherlands and, together with the provinces of North and South Holland, Brabant is responsible for 82 percent of new businesses.
Last year, the Polish company CANPACK added a third production line to their high-tech drinks packaging factory in Helmond, bringing 120 further jobs to the region and the company even closer to its customers. Meanwhile, the Li-Tong Group (Re-Teck), a Chinese company, set up its first Dutch facility in Breda for manufacturing telecommunications and electronic equipment, bolstering the sustainability of the Brabant economy. The rapidly-growing U.S. Scale Computing, which builds IT infrastructure, also settled on ’s-Hertogenbosch as the perfect and centralized location for its Benelux consultancy work. Another American company, UPS, implemented advanced sorting technology to increase its logistical capacity in Eindhoven, devoting €130 million to the new distribution center and generating over 200 new jobs.
A number of international trends have remained unchanged since the previous year. “Interest from Asian companies to base themselves in Brabant has never been greater,” said Eelko Brinkhoff, Manager BOM Foreign Investments & Trade. “By contrast, investment from the United States remains at 2008 and 2009 levels. But we remain positive when it comes to the future, with renewed growth in the number of projects in hand for this important market for the Netherlands and Brabant. We are also waiting to see whether present Brexit developments will mean further opportunities for Brabant in 2019,” Brinkhoff added. “We have already seen considerable corporate migration from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands, but in 2018 the primary destination was Amsterdam, specifically for the legal, financial and media sectors. BOM Foreign Investments is now in continuous contact with the Brexit teams of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) in both the Netherlands and London. It goes without saying that we will spotlight Brabant as a business location to those companies in the UK considering expanding or moving their logistics, production and/or R&D activities to the mainland.
“The share of projects we have in hand has increased dramatically, thanks in part to the proactive and targeted acquisitions in a number of focus-countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China, Japan, and Taiwan,” Brinkhoff continued. “We are also primarily focusing on three top Brabant clusters, being life sciences & health, high tech systems & materials and agri-food. “Our focused approach has had a tangible impact in recent years. This means that, by working closely with our partners both in the region and further afield – including the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), REWIN West-Brabant, Brainport International, and the Brabant campuses and cities – we can stay on top of market demand and provide tailored support.”
Almost 20 percent of the new business generated in 2018 was due to companies that based or expanded their R&D activities in Brabant. The fact that the regional technological clusters are undergoing healthy growth and are now very well-known abroad has resulted in a more high-quality integration with these ecosystems. “That’s why our teams also include sector specialists who specifically devote themselves to innovative companies in certain foreign markets. Naturally we still continue to proactively back new logistics and office jobs in Brabant,” Brinkhoff said.
Investing in internationalization
In the last four years Brabant has made additional investments in the province’s international network. “The province has, together with its development agency, strengthened ties with innovative regions in Europe and beyond,” said Bert Pauli, Vice Governor for Economic Affairs and Internationalization. “For example, we have put on additional visits and trade missions, and today we are reaping the benefits of those excursions. It is easier for companies and knowledge institutes to find foreign partners for trade and product development. I’m pleased to hear that BOM is also seeing a continuous increase in investments by foreign businesses. Furthermore, new foreign companies in the province are increasingly knowledge-intensive, competing on the basis of unique products and services instead of price. This is demonstrated by the fact that over 40 percent of the companies that BOM works with are active in the high-tech sector, and such companies not only create jobs, they also contribute to our innovative capacity.”