France has once again found a real attractiveness in the eyes of foreign company leaders.
Four major players tell us why they have decided to invest in France.
“France is back”. That is the message put forward by Emmanuel Macron a year ago when speaking to business leaders and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, during the 2018 edition of the World Economic Forum.
A strong message, bolstered by strong numbers collected by Business France a few months later: foreign investments are at their highest in a decade. On average, 25 investment decisions were recorded every week in 2017. All told, foreign backers have invested in 1298 projects last year, 16% up from the previous year.
This momentum is beneficial across the country and sustains employment. In fact, these foreign funds lead to the creation of 26 400 jobs in 2017.
A few days away from the start of the 2019 edition of the Choose France summit in Versailles, four foreign companies explained why the decided to invest in France.
Activity: specializing in agriculture, horticulture, water treatment and industrial equipment.
Global turnover in 2017: 794 million dollars
Employees : 4 500
Premier Tech decided to settle production units in France back in 2017. “We have built partnerships and conducted strategic acquisitions in order to better settle in France,” explains Jean Belanger, president of Premier Tech. In total, the company has invested 50 million euros over ten years, it has eight production sites and employs 300 workers in France, mainly in Brittany and in the Loire region.
“France is at the heart of our European strategy. Beyond the common language, France has a number of assets: the size of its domestic market for our activities, a well-structured regulatory environment surrounding public sanitation, but also a number of government support for R&D and employee training. The government also encourages companies to settle in rural areas.” adds Jean Belanger.
This momentum should continue as the company is planning on investing 15 million euros in France in the next three years, focusing on developing its industrial tools and R&D.
Activity: Auto parts manufacturer; manufacturing electric tools, white goods, industrial techniques, packaging technology
Global turnover in 2017 : 78,1 billion euros
Employees : 402 000
Bosch has been present in France since 1899 and opened its first foreign production site in Paris in 1905. With 23 locations in France, Bosch France employs nearly 7 500 workers including 830 engineers focused on R&D; the company achieved a 3.2 billion euros turnover in France in 2017.
In order to reinforce its presence in France, Bosch has invested nearly 55 million euros last year across its French sites.
“France has a high industrial value added for the group,” explains Harald Frank-Lerendu, Director of Communications for Bosch France. “Bosch, biggest German industrial employer in France, has invested nearly 530 million euros, since 2010, in its key areas which rely heavily on the expertise of our French teams”.
Heavily engaged in developing Industry 4.0, Bosch has invested 19 million euros in 2017 to turn its French headquarters in Saint-Ouen into an innovation hub.
Swedish company Activity: bearings, joints, mechatronic components, lubrication systems and services.
Global turnover in 2017 : 7,6 billion euros
Employees : 45 000
Present in France since 1908, the Swedish group has enjoyed a turnover of a billion euros in France in 2017 and employs nearly 3000 people. “France is a very dynamic subsidiary for us, with seven sites, six of which are dedicated to production,” explains Luc Graux, President of SKF France. “On top of a central location geographically, France’s workforce enjoys a high level of qualification.”
In 2016 and 2017, SKF has invested 34 million euros across France. Most notably, the company has launched its very first European production site for spare automotive parts on its site in St Cyr-Sur-Loire. “A decision that has led to the repatriation to France of activities that had until then been based in Italy, Sweden or Singapore,” highlights Luc Graux.
In 2018 alone, the group injected 39 million euros into France’s economy with, amongst other things, the launch of a new logistics platform (in September) and the creation of two new automated production lines (opening in 2019) in Valenciennes (Hauts-de-France) and St Cyr-Sur-Loire.
Activité : conception, construction, commercialisation of on-shore wind windmills
Activity: design, manufacture and sale of land-based windmills
Employees : 33 000
Turnover: not provided
Established in France 15 years ago, this company runs 29 maintenance centers and 1 800 windmills in France. “We decided to establish ourselves in France in 2003 as it is a very important market for us. On top of very favorable wind conditions, there is also a political desire to develop land-based wind farms.” explains Peter Schuster, director of Enercon France.
In 2012, Enercon launched a cement mast production hub in Sainte-Marie (Hauts-de-France) which employs 85 permanent staff.
“Our priority remains the creation of local value and we will thrive to be active and present in the region, especially when it comes to partnerships with local actors (training, R&D, commercial and institutional partners),” explains Peter Schuster.
This German manufacturer, which employs 800 people in France, has therefore invested a million euros for the creation of a training center in Le Meux (Hauts-de-France) which trains 600 technicians every year. This has since been bolstered by a second international training center in 2018, based in Longueil-Sainte-Marie.
Global turnover : 177,9 billion dollars
Employees : 566 000
The American e-commerce giant launched Amazon.fr back in 2000. Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than two billion euros into the French economy to support development and employs 7 500 permanent staff.
In France, Amazon runs five major distribution centers, including the site in Boves (Hauts-de-France), inaugurated be President Emmanuel Macron in October 2017.
Amazon has also announced that it will open a new distribution center in 2019 in Brétigny-sur-Orge (Ile-de-France). Counting 142 000 square meters, it will be Amazon’s biggest French site in terms of storage capacity and the first French site to be equipped with robotic technology.
Constance de Cambiaire (c) AFP