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France – a ticket to Europe for Thai investors
The pandemic has hit European economies hard, but the French government’s measures to help foreign investors appear to be working in its favour.
For the second consecutive year, France has been named No 1 for foreign investors and its trade pacts make it a stepping-stone to the vast European market.
In 2020, foreign investment projects in Europe dropped by 13 per cent to 5,578 projects. Since the peak of 2017, a downward trend has been seen in Europe (-16.2 per cent), especially in the United Kingdom (-19.3 per cent) and Germany (-17.3 per cent), but not in France (-3.3 per cent).
Industrial activities represent a quarter of investments in France and contribute 37 per cent to the total job market.
More than 60 per cent of the projects registered in France are an extension of existing sites and 40 per cent are in the green economy.
Here are some signs of the high confidence placed in France by foreign investors:
• Foreign investments created 30,552 jobs in France
• France hosted 985 foreign investment projects in 2020, down 17.7 per cent
• 88 per cent of foreign investors consider the French recovery plan to be at least as efficient as the others, and 44 per cent more efficient
• 56 per cent to relocate activities in France, including 18 per cent in the coming months
• 58 per cent believe that France can become a world leader in ecological matters within five years
THAI SUCCESS STORIES IN FRANCE
Whether a start-up, a mid-size company or a big group, businesses of various scales from the Asean region, including Thailand, have benefited from a soft landing in France with the supporting measures and incentives implemented by the government.
Thai firm INDORAMA VENTURES confirmed in 2020 its fifth investment in France – the construction of a new recycling plant in Verdun, in the east of the country.
Aloke Lohia, group CEO of Indorama Ventures, said: “France is leading the way to the circular economy. I had the pleasure last year to join a high-level climate change panel hosted by Saint-Gobain at the Fortune Global Forum in Paris. It was a decisive opportunity to discuss the important steps Indorama Ventures is taking, and how we can all do more to reduce our carbon footprint helping meet national climate change commitments.
“Our investment in Verdun is a tangible demonstration of our commitment,” Lohia added. “We are building the infrastructure France needs to recycle PET plastic bottles. When operational, France will have a dedicated place to recycle post-consumer bottles, back into bottles. Verdun will recycle 2.4 billion 1.5L beverage bottles a year. We are also pleased to further contribute to the Verdun and Meuse economy by adding 35 next-generation green jobs.”
THAI UNION has been present in France for a very long time, and 2020 marked the continuous expansion of its activities in France.
In 2010, Thai Union Group acquired leading European canned seafood producer MW Brands to establish Thai Union Europe. With this acquisition, the group established a European headquarters in Paris and later acquired MerAlliance, with production facilities in Quimper and Douarnenez, deepening their investment and commitment to the country and the region
“France was the natural choice for our headquarters and the base of our European and African operations. The country provides excellent investment opportunities and is the location of one of our market-leading brands, Petit Navire. Additionally, being based in Paris also means that we can access the wider European Union and unlock greater synergies in terms of distribution and a strong customer base.
“France itself boasts a strong, open economy and exceptional talent to ensure the continued growth and development of our business in Europe and beyond, as well as continue to contribute to our adopted homeland. We welcome France’s openness to receiving foreign direct investment and are proud to be one of many companies investing in the growth of the nation and its people,” a company representative said.
MUDMAN recently invested in the restaurant industry by acquiring renowned Paris restaurant, Le Grand Vefour, and is on the lookout for more opportunities.
“During the development of our various projects, the French Embassy in Bangkok and ‘Business France’ were invaluable to us. The support was second to none, every step of the way, thereby facilitating legal, banking, real estate and human matters. The contributions and suggestions received greatly facilitated a task that promised to be difficult,” said Mudman CEO Nadim Xavier Salhani.
JIPAO PRECISION INDUSTRY is a Thai firm, with over 1,200 employees and has been listed on the Thai Stock Market since 2014. The group specialises in producing metal parts for various industries such as telecom, aerospace, food and beverage and medical.
In 2019, Jinpao acquired Agiliteam, (ADB) a French group comprising of two companies specialised in precision machine parts for the aerospace and defence sectors. In 2020, Jinpao pursued its French expansion with another acquisition of a French company, SPEM AERO.
What makes France so attractive:
• Great recovery plans, which together with the resilience of projects, confirm the validity of reforms implemented since 2017.
• France has been the leading destination for manufacturing projects in Europe for more than 15 years. Despite a significant decline (-16.6 per cent), close to the UK (-15.2 per cent) and far lower than Germany (-36.6 per cent), France still gets three times more projects than these two countries.
• Ranked No 1 in Europe for jobs, France confirms the strong momentum of recent years (+21.6 per cent since 2017), where the UK stood at -44.4 per cent and Germany at -19, 7 per cent.
• A high number of extension projects, as well as reinvestments, prove that investors’ confidence in France is continuously growing.
* These numbers are extracted from the study titled “2021 Barometer of France’s Attractiveness”. This annual study comes in two parts:
• A census of foreign investment projects in France and Europe (5,600 projects spread over 44 countries in 2020), and
• An opinion survey among a panel of 700 leaders of international groups based in France and Europe, coupled with interviews with experts and workshops (conducted between March and May this year).
Published : June 07, 2021
By : The Nation