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Ikea, Pfizer, pet care: France confirms €4bn in new foreign investment

The projects are set to create 10,000 jobs and many will be located around smaller, often rural, communes

President Macron on stage surrounded by French flags and supporters, signing a ‘thumbs up’

The Choose France initiative usually sees CEOs meet with President Emmanuel Macron at Versailles but this did not happen this year due to the pandemic Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

France has received €4billion in foreign investments that will go towards 21 new projects and create 10,000 new jobs nationwide, the Elysée has announced, in the fifth annual ‘Choose France’ campaign.

The investment plans include:

  •  €850million from American materials manufacturer Eastman into a plastic recycling plant that will employ 350 people by 2025. Its location is yet to be decided but it is expected to recycle more than 160,000 tons of plastic per year, including textile waste and household packaging.
  • Swedish furniture giant Ikea is set to invest €650million over three years for projects “dedicated to the virtual economy and sustainable transport”.
  • German pharmaceutical company BASF will invest €300million into its Chalampé (Haut-Rhin, Est) site, which President Macron is expected to visit today (January 17) with Industry Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher. The building of a new factory will employ 500 construction workers, and lead to 50 permanent on-site roles.
  • Pfizer is also expected to invest up to €520million in an industrial outsourcing project with manufacturer Novasep for the production of the Covid-19 treatment and investments in advanced research.
  • €85million from US pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare, which is set to renovate its existing sites in France and build two new production lines. CEO of Mars Petcare France, Romain Dumas, said: “People in France spent more on their pets [during the health crisis]” and added that investment in France is due to the “expertise and the quality of the production", but also the group’s own “political will to invest more foreign capital".
  • Norwegian group Norske Skog is to invest €250million to convert a production line to create 100% recycled packaging, while Belgian group X-Fab is to invest €65million to create local production of automobile semiconductors, which are suffering a major shortage.
  • Similarly, consulting giant Accenture is set to employ an additional 2,000 people in France this year
  • Mexican group Alsea – which owns the rights to the Starbucks brand in France – is also planning to create 1,500 new roles in the country between now and 2026.

Many of the 21 new projects are set to be located in rural areas, in communes with 20,000 inhabitants or fewer, as part of plans to spread the investments and development nationwide.

‘Choose France’

The investments come during the fifth annual ‘Choose France’ investment drive event, which usually invites CEOs of major multinationals to attend a reception with the president at the Château de Versailles – although this did not happen in person this year because of the pandemic.

In its announcement, the Elysée said that this year’s investments would create 21 new projects and more than 10,000 jobs, as well as 16,000 extra fixed-term contracts. 

Over the past four years of the ‘Choose France’ initiative, of the 57 projects announced, 55 actually took place, representing investments of €8billion and 13,300 new jobs.

Public investment in these projects is generally around 5-10% of their total amount, the Elysée said. It added that in 2019 and 2020, France was the most popular country in Europe for foreign investment.

At the start of an election year, the Elysée was keen to claim that this "attractiveness validates the entire economic policy [and] is the result of all the reforms that have been carried out since the beginning of the five-year term”.

While the Choose France initiative only highlights a small fraction of the foreign investment into the country, the government agency Business France said it had counted 5,300 new projects between 2017-2020, which between them had created or maintained 140,000 jobs nationwide. 

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