BOM Foreign Investments again broke its own record when it came to job creation in the province of Brabant last year, with 1,661 new jobs created in 2014 thanks to foreign companies either moving to the region or expanding their operations there. These companies also invested €154.2 million in the province, the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) announced yesterday at its biennial Investors Day.
The 2014 figures yet another gain for BOM Foreign Investments over the preceding year, when 1,313 jobs were created and investments stood at €52 million.
BOM Foreign Investments endeavors to draw foreign companies to Brabant and provides extensive support to them in terms of setting up, expanding and investing, as well as when it comes to issues such as accommodation, labor and the laws and legislation. “Foreign companies are an important part of the Dutch economy,” says Jan Pelle, head of BOM. “They are responsible for 16 percent of all jobs in the Netherlands and for 23 percent of investments in capital assets.”
Investors in 2014
The big newcomer was Pegatron, with the Taiwanese electronics company opening a service and repair center in Breda that saw 700 jobs created. Furthermore, the new distribution centers of a number of major fashion labels also meant an employment boost, with American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and a large Japanese clothing company together adding 300 jobs.
Ball Packaging and Liquavista were the biggest foreign investors in Brabant last year, contributing €130 million to the economy. The American beverage container manufacturer is building a brand new factory in Oss, while Amazon-subsidiary Liquavista, which develops new display monitor technologies, has invested in high-quality cleanroom facilities in Eindhoven.
According to Eelko Brinkhoff, head BOM Foreign Investments, three trends have manifested themselves. Firstly, there are the major fashion labels that aim to set up distribution centers close to their markets. Then there is the reshoring of manufacturing and assembly from Asia, a trend that could already be seen in 2013 and that continued last year. “Companies want to be able to serve their markets quickly,” say Brinkhoff. “And that means that flexibility and service are more important than cheap labor. And wages are also rising in Asia, by as much as 15 percent a year on average in China.”
The third trend is rising investment readiness in Asia. While US companies still make up the largest share of foreign companies in Brabant, a large number of new Asian companies arrived in the province last year. Aside from Pegatron, Chinese corporation Opple Lighting set up its European head office in Best and the Taiwanese e-bike maker Darfon settled on Eindhoven for its head office. Meanwhile Mapscape, a Chinese company that provides maps for navigation systems, doubled its Eindhoven workforce from 50 to 100 employees.
Aside from those projects in which BOM was actively involved, there were also another 30 projects launched by foreign companies in Brabant, including a number of strategic takeovers. The American bio-medical company Medtronic bought out Dutch company Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation, while Shanghai Prime Machinery Company now owns Koninklijke Nedschroef in Helmond. Brabant small and medium-sized enterprises are also increasingly focusing on foreign markets, all of which means the continued internationalization of Brabant.
BOM is aiming to create another 1,000 jobs and match the number of projects once again in 2015. In view of the current trends, BOM Foreign Investments is highlighting logistics, in particular in the fashion, IT, electronics and life sciences industries. The rising interest in e-commerce also means there are many new opportunities, given the rapid access offered by the province to the European sales market.
Brabant also offers high-quality technological knowledge and facilities. The Brabant Development Agency makes proactive acquisitions in the top industries of high-tech, life sciences and agro-food in partnership with companies, knowledge and educational institutions and public partners such as the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), the Province of Brabant, Brainport Development and local authorities.