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5 international companies nominated for the 2020 Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy


Brussels, January 16, 2020 – Barry Callebaut, DAF Trucks, Heyaru Engineering, Hologic and International Car Operators (ICO) are the five nominees for the 2020 Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy, as announced by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). By presenting this trophy, the government agency for international business in Flanders aims to put the spotlight on foreign companies with investment projects in Belgium’s northern region. The winner will be chosen during the Foreign Investment Trophy event, which takes place at the Gateway Office of Deloitte Belgium at Brussels Airport on Tuesday February 11, 2020.

Besides the Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy, two additional trophies will be presented at the Foreign Investment Trophy event. The Lifetime Achievement Trophy acknowledges the efforts of a foreign investor with a long track record in Flanders. Furthermore, the Newcomer of the Year Trophy rewards a foreign firm that has set foot in Flanders for the first time. The winners in these two categories will be announced on the evening of the awards ceremony.


Barry Callebaut (Switzerland) builds the world’s largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren

Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, which has both Belgian and French roots, will move its European logistics site from Aalst to Lokeren to serve the international market even better. The new site will surpass the existing site in both size and sustainability and represents a total investment of EUR 100 million. The project’s aim is to make the building in Lokeren the largest chocolate warehouse in the world. Barry Callebaut predicts that the new site will create extra jobs, but the company is not yet able to give concrete numbers. Initially, the 85 employees of the current logistics center in Aalst will make the move.

Learn more about Barry Callebaut’s investment (video).

DAF Trucks (Netherlands/US) injects record amount into the expansion of its Westerlo site

Dutch truck manufacturer DAF Trucks – which is part of US-based PACCAR – is channeling a record amount of EUR 200 million into its parts factory in Westerlo, Antwerp. At this production site, around 2,400 employees manufacture cabins and axles for DAF Trucks' medium and heavy trucks. Thanks to the expansion, the location’s truck cabin production capacity will increase by 45%, reaching as many as 300 cabins per day in a 2-shift system.

Learn more about DAF Trucks’ investment (video).

Heyaru Engineering (Dubai/India) constructs Europe’s largest diamond factory in Lommel

The fact that Heyaru Engineering has great plans in Flanders was already evident back in 2016. At the time, the company – which has its headquarters in Dubai and is backed by Indian owners – decided to set up a local entity in Lommel. Two years later, Heyaru has announced the construction of a large diamond factory and a research center there. For this purpose, the lab-grown diamonds producer is funneling EUR 24 million into its local branch. The investment will create about 150 additional jobs.

Learn more about Heyaru’s investment (video).

Hologic (US) opens medtech service and training center in Zaventem

Hologic – an American firm that specializes in improving women's health and well-being through early detection and treatment – has opened a 4,000-square-meter facility in Zaventem. The brand-new site includes a center of service excellence as well as a high-tech training center for healthcare professionals. Last year, the medtech company achieved a global turnover of USD 3.4 billion. It employs 6,300 people, around 100 of which work in Zaventem. This investment will add another 60 jobs there.

Learn more about Hologic’s investment (video).

International Car Operators (Japan) turns Zeebrugge into Europe’s main e-car port

Because of Zeebrugge's role as the world's largest port for handling light vehicles, Japanese car transshipment firm International Car Operators (ICO) – a subsidiary of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) – chose to invest EUR 60 million in its local site. In addition to the construction of a new office building and the expansion of the main car terminal, 11 wind turbines will be erected on the site. After the summer of 2020, the 150-meter turbines will be running at full power. This investment will create 100 new jobs.

Learn more about ICO’s investment (video).

Multiple voting rounds

The nominated company with the most votes after 3 rounds of voting – by the general online audience, a professional jury and those present at the ceremony – will take the trophy home. Online voting is open as of 16 January 2020 via


Alongside Flanders-based companies, foreign investors form an important driving force behind Flanders’ economy. Not only do they strengthen our economic fabric, they also create additional jobs and introduce new knowledge and expertise to our business environment. The Foreign Investment Trophy event serves as a token of appreciation for their efforts.

Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade

Getting Flanders on the shortlists of foreign companies with international growth plans is crucial to fortifying Flanders economy as well as employment in our region. With the Foreign Investment Trophy, we aim to recognize the dedication and engagement of these foreign companies in Flanders.

Jan Jambon, Minister-President of Flanders)


International companies recap diverse rewards when deciding to invest in Flanders. As a major logistics crossroads in the heart of Europe’s purchasing power, Flanders is the place to be for companies with pan-European ambitions. The region is also known for the close collaboration between its private, public and academic sectors—making it fertile ground for innovative research and development activities in some of the most advanced technological niches.

Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) actively promotes sustainable international business in Flanders as a key element of the region’s socioeconomic development. FIT accomplishes this by supporting Flanders-based companies in their international business ventures and by attracting foreign investors. FIT assists businesses across Flanders in their international endeavors and provides custom advice and support. Companies can call on the agency’s local and international networks of contacts, while FIT also offers financial support and information about the financial incentives available.

Press contact

Olivier Van Raemdonck
Spokesperson of the minister-president of the Flemish Government and minister of Foreign Affairs, Culture, ICT and  Facility Management
M. +32 470 99 91 01

Tine Van Valckenborgh
Spokesperson for Flanders Investment & Trade
M. +32 499 24 60 93