Wednesday March 23rd 2022



Three foreign companies with investment projects in Flanders have been presented with a trophy during the annual Foreign Investment Trophy event. With this ceremony, Flanders Investment & Trade – the region’s government agency for international business – is highlighting the importance of foreign investments for Flanders’ economy, job creation and prosperity for the tenth year in a row.

The anniversary edition of the Foreign Investment Trophy ceremony took place in Technopolis Mechelen on Tuesday 22 March 2022 – in the presence of Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon. Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) presented three trophies:

  1. the 2022 Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy

  2. the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Trophy

  3. the 2022 Newcomer of the Year Trophy

Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy: Daikin Europe (Japan)

The European branch of Japanese indoor climate specialist Daikin takes home the 2022 Foreign Investment of the Year TrophyFlanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon announced the victory in the presence of Wim De Schacht, Vice President of Daikin Europe. The multinational was in the running for the trophy alongside Aviko (Netherlands), Carrefour (France) and Volvo Cars (Sweden). Three rounds of voting – by the online public, a professional jury and the audience present at the ceremony – determined the outcome.

Daikin Europe wins the trophy for its project in Tech Lane Ghent Science Park. There, the company is channeling EUR 140 million into a new global innovation center. Construction should be completed by 2024 and the project will create 135 extra jobs. The center will play a key role in Daikin’s innovation and sustainability strategy, focusing on heat pumps, cooling technologies for a sustainable cold chain and IoT applications for smart energy use.

“Like Daikin Europe, Flanders’ advanced manufacturing industry is going all out for Industry 5.0 to pave both the digital and sustainable path forward,” says Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon. “I cannot imagine a better location for their project. The fact that the company will focus on innovation for smart energy use here demonstrates a clear vision for the future for both the sector and our society. The potential of technology as an answer to socio-economic challenges is indisputable, and Flanders has been working on this for years.”

“Daikin Europe is anchoring itself ever more strongly in Flanders’ ecosystem for research and innovation,” adds FIT CEO Claire Tillekaerts. “For example, the new Ghent site will serve as a global knowledge center for the entire Daikin group and work closely with local innovation partners such as Ghent University and strategic research center Flanders Make.”

Lifetime Achievement Trophy: CNH Industrial (US/IT)

CNH Industrial receives the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Trophy. This was announced by Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon in the presence of Tom Verbaeten, Chief Supply Chain Officer at CNH Industrial. The agricultural machine manufacturer’s roots in Flanders go back more than a century. Its Zedelgem site has existed since 1906 and has been operating under the CNH Industrial banner since 1999. Through the decades, the site grew into CNH Industrial’s worldwide center of excellence for forage harvesters, large square balers and combines. The multinational’s Antwerp site also boasts an extensive track record. Today, it manufactures parts that are shipped to sister factories worldwide.

“The Lifetime Achievement Trophy is a token of recognition for CNH Industrial’s long and successful track record in Flanders as well as its strong ties to our region,” says Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon“This leading machine manufacturer has been locally anchored in Flanders for decades. It has invested millions of euros and created thousands of jobs in a sector where Flanders stands very strong both technologically and innovatively.”

“Meanwhile, CNH Industrial is not standing still in Flanders,” adds FIT CEO Claire Tillekaerts. “In the coming years, the company is investing EUR 100 million to expand its capacity and develop more automated machines. The use of alternative energy sources is also being explored. Investing in technology, innovation and sustainability is clearly one of their priorities. As such, CNH Industrial has been closely aligned with the strategic priorities of Flanders’ manufacturing industry for years.”

Newcomer of the Year Trophy: Legend Biotech (US)

Legend Biotech was presented with the 2022 Newcomer of the Year Trophy by Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon in the presence of Legend Biotech CEO Ying Huang. The US-based global biotech company, in partnership with Janssen Biotech, chose Ghent as the home of its very first production site on European soil. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Legend Biotech will operate the site and oversee the clinical and commercial production of a brand-new CAR-T therapy, which involves reprogramming a person’s own blood cells to fight cancer in a targeted way.

“The fact that a top biotech firm like Legend Biotech sets up its first European production site in Flanders highlights the advantages of our region’s life sciences & health ecosystem,” says Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon. “Our strong talent pool, strategic location and top logistics network caught the eye of Legend Biotech, putting Flanders ahead of other locations in Europe that also wanted to convince Legend Biotech of their strengths.”

“What’s more, Legend Biotech only strengthens the purview of Flanders’ ecosystem,” adds FIT CEO Claire Tillekaerts. “The fast-growing company expects to recruit a significant number of employees at its Ghent site. Furthermore, Legend Biotech has the ambition to further expand its European production in the coming years – with Flanders as its home base.”