BOM Foreign Investments set a new record last year in job creation, with over a thousand new jobs created in the province of Brabant in the Netherlands thanks to the 35 foreign companies opening offices or expanding in the region. A further 300 jobs were retained.
In numerical terms this means a growth of 40 percent compared to the results for 2012, when some 942 jobs were created and maintained. Foreign companies were meanwhile responsible for almost 54.5 million euros in direct investments in 2013, a significant drop from the 183 million euros spent the previous year.
The Indian IT service provider Wipro was the biggest job-creator – 270 in total – when it set up shop in Eindhoven, while runners up were the US-based Cognizant Technology and Indian Infosys IT companies, with 120 jobs apiece. Another major acquisition for Brabant was Tesla Motors, with the American electric car maker generating 80 jobs as well as a great deal of publicity.
All of these companies saw a significant contribution made by the Brabant Development Agency (BOM). Takeovers, companies moving to the region from elsewhere in the Netherlands, and acquisitions also saw the addition of another 2,000 jobs, with the largest share due to takeovers, such as the acquisition of a component of MSD in Oss by the South African company Aspen.
Director of BOM Foreign Investments Eelko Brinkhoff has identified a number of trends in the job growth, with the largest number of companies to settle in Brabant in the last two years from the US, while Asian companies had been reticent in recent years when it came to investing in Europe. “We are seeing the first signs of reshoring from China,” he says. “Wage costs might still be higher here, but in China wages are rising by at least 15 percent every year. Companies are also closer to the large European market here, which means that logistical expenses are cut, foreign exchange fluctuations are no longer an issue and stock can be better managed.”
BOM registered 169 new leads in 2013, with the greatest portion of activities shifted by companies to Brabant – 60 percent of BOM’s leads – consisting of marketing and sales as well as logistics. Meanwhile R&D and manufacturing and assembly increased considerably in comparison to preceding years.
BOM realizes that the recently announced closure of the Philip Morris factory in Bergen op Zoom has put the positive figures with respect to foreign industry in perspective. “Worldwide economic developments can mean opportunities for us but can also be extraordinarily detrimental to employment levels and the local economy,” says Jan Pelle, Managing Director of BOM. “What this means is that together we are going to have to demonstrate the ability to bounce back more than ever before in Bergen op Zoom and West Brabant. BOM wants to contribute to that.”
Advantageous climate for new businesses
Eelko Brinkhoff distinguishes between two types of companies that choose to base themselves in Brabant. The first type is seeking access to the European market and requires facilities with the best possible quality-to-costs ratio for issues such as sales, logistics, and assembly, while the second is looking for partners to develop new technologies, products, and applications that will benefit a company’s global activities.
When compared to the Randstad area of the Netherlands, Brabant offers an advantageous climate for new businesses, thanks to the cheaper land and property. Moreover, the province is close to the German and French markets and is located between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp and the Ruhr valley. Thanks to institutes such as the High Tech Campus, the Eindhoven region also has a great deal of appeal to technological companies.
Brabant’s strengths were once again confirmed earlier this year through leading studies. The province took second place in the KPMG investigation of cost levels for foreign investors in Western Europe, while the Financial Times publication fDi Magazine said Brabant had the best strategy in Western Europe for attracting foreign investment.
“Our job is to further utilize the excellent starting point offered by Brabant,” says Eelko Brinkhoff. “We have to focus on those countries and activities that offer us the greatest opportunities. Brabant has to attract the largest number of foreign investors outside of the Randstad urban conurbation.”
BOM has already played a part in creating 400 jobs in the first quarter of 2014, and if the trial run of a major Taiwanese electronics company in Breda comes to a successful conclusion, there will be at least another 500 jobs added.
BOM Foreign Investments is part of the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), established in 1983 and funded by the Dutch government and the province of Brabant. At BOM Foreign Investments we believe that investing in Brabant, the Netherlands is the solution for foreign companies looking to optimally invest in Europe; and we strive to make it happen. We facilitate all aspects of foreign direct investment in Brabant by offering personalized guidance through the site selection process and providing relevant and up-to-date information and links to our extensive network; services we continue to provide to companies with an established presence in Brabant. BOM is based in Tilburg and has a staff of 80. For more information please visit http://www.foreigninvestments.eu.