Economic good news: May – June 2009
Scandinavian Tobacco Group invests 40 million euros in new plant in
The Scandinavian Tobacco Group has decided to open a new establishment in
Lummen (Limburg province). This is to be the largest cigar factory of Europe and
one of the most modern in the world.
The new plant is to require an investment of 32.5 million euros. In addition, another
6 to 7 million euros will be invested in new machinery, bringing the total investment
to close to 40 million.
The Lummen location, which will be put into production in the spring of 2010, is to
be renamed “Scadinavian Tobacco Group Lummen.”
Solvay affiliate builds new factories in China and India to serve growing
Inergy Automotive Systems, the world’s number one supplier of complete plastic fuel
systems and fuel storage technologies for the automotive industry, is a company set
up as an equal share joint venture by the French company Plastic Omnium and
Solvay, an international chemical and pharmaceutical Group with headquarters in
Brussels. Inergy Automotive Systems is building a new fuel systems plant in the
Beijing region, China, and one in the Chennai region, India. The Beijing factory will
serve a production plant operated by Hyundai as from July 2010 and the Chennai
factory will supply a car plant in the Bangalore region operated by a big Japanese car
manufacturer. The new production units are constructed to serve the fast-growing
automotive industry in this part of Asia.
Sonaca signs contract with Bombardier
The Belgian aircraftparts manufacturer Sonaca S.A. (Gosselies), has signed a
contract worth 60 million USD with the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier
at the aerospace exhibition Le Bourget, near Paris. Sonaca will develop a part of the
wings of the new C-series aircraft.
Sonaca signs partnership agreement with the Czech company Aero
The Sonaca group has signed a long-term partnership agreement with the Czech
company Aero Vodochody. The agreement covers the study, development and
production of attack edges for the wings of aircraft. This dual partnership in the R &
D and industrial areas, will allow both companies to offer a more complete "work
package" to their customers.
In 2008, Flemish exports for the first time exceeded 200 billion euro
Despite the financial crisis, the exports of Flemish goods in 2008 increased by 5.5%
compared to 2007. Hence, the exports of Flanders for the first time exceeded the
200 billion euro mark. As reported by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), the
Flemish Agency for international business.
TGV: high-speed rail network from border to border
The high-speed line between Liege and the German border has been in service since
June 14, 2009. This new line brings rail passengers from Liege to Cologne in 1:01
hrs. This makes Belgium the first European country with a complete high-speed rail
network from border to border.
Spanish telecom operator Telefónica opens new branch in Brussels
Spanish telecom operator Telefónica a few years ago had already opened a first
office in the Belgian capital, as a liaison office with the European Commission. Now
Telefónica is about to open another office in Brussels. This new branch is a result of
the contract that the Spanish telecom provider some time ago concluded with DHL.
Under this contract Telefónica will supply data, telephony and mobile services to the
125,000 employees of the parcel business over the next five years. The contract is
valued at 350 million euro.
Brussels trams to hit the High Seas for unique rail project during Vancouver
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Bombardier Transportation and Brussels Public Transport Company STIB (Société des
Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles) are teaming up with the City of Vancouver
(Canada) to give North America a taste of European light rail technology. The
partners continue preparations for a unique streetcar demonstration project that will
help the city provide public transit service during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games.
STIB and Bombardier are collaborating with Vancouver to ship two of STIB’s 100%
low-floor FLEXITY trams to the city by sea in late 2009. In Vancouver, the vehicles
will operate seven days a week on the demonstration line between January 21 and
March 21, 2010 near the Olympic and Paralympic Village. The streetcars will run on
an existing track the city is now upgrading to accommodate both the project and a
possible future streetcar line. The line will be operated and maintained by
Bombardier as a unique service for the city.
Bombardier and STIB officials shared details of the project during a World Congress
and Mobility & City Transport Exhibition in Vienna, Austria.
New contracts in Latin America for dredging specialist Jan de Nul Group
Jan de Nul Group has won contracts in Latin America, in particular in Argentina,
Colombia, Brazil and Mexico.
Argentina: dredging works in the port of Buenos Aires
Jan De Nul N.V. Sucursal Argentina, member of Jan De Nul Group, has been awarded
a contract by the General Port Authority of Argentina in order to deepen and widen
the port of Buenos Aires. This contract is worth 16 million USD. The port of Buenos
Aires is Argentina’s major container port.
Colombia: dredging Works in the port of Buenaventura
In Colombia Jan De Nul Group signed a contract with the Sociedad Portuaria
Terminal de Contenedores de Buenaventura for the dredging of an access channel
and turning basin for a new container terminal in the port of Buenaventura. The total
value of the contract is around 50 million euros.
The works are scheduled to start in July 2009 and will take 13 months to complete.
Brazil: dredging works in the port of Rio Grande
The consortium Jan De Nul– Odebrecht (a Brazilian company) was awarded the
dredging contract for the deepening of the port of Rio Grande. The contract value is
101 million USD.
Mexico: beach restoration Works in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel
Mexicana de Dragados S.A., a member of Jan De Nul Group, has won a contract for
the restoration of beaches in Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. The total
contract value amounts to 45 million euros. The job consists of pumping sand on the
beaches and building underwater breakwaters to protect the beaches from erosion.
This project is meant to boost the tourism industry in Mexico.
Thales Alenia Space is to equip the next 35 Ariane 5 rockets
Thales Alenia Space ETCA from Charleroi is the largest manufacturer of space
electronics in Belgium, Europe's leader in the provision of electrical power for
satellites, and #1 supplier of electronics for Ariane 5. The company also supplies the
Russian Soyuz, and likewise is specialized in the telecom and security sectors.
Thales Alenia Space has a second subsidiary in Belgium, specifically Thales Alenia
Space Antwerp in Hoboken. This branch specializes in satellite transmissions.
Thales Alenia Space ETCA has delivered parts to Arianespace since the 1970s. Thus
far the company has 1,150 deliveries under its belt.
Recently Thales Alenia Space ETCA signed a contract with the company Astrium for
the supply of electronic components and services for the Ariane 5 rockets, which will
be launched between 2011 and 2015. This is the largest contract the company has
At the same time Thales Alenia Space ETCA will be responsible for the maintenance
and operation of the control and command systems and information technology for
the launch of the next Arianes 5.
IMEC expands partnership with TSMC Leuven, Belgium
IMEC, Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics research center on leading-edge
process technology for the next generations of IC manufacturing, has signed a new
research agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC),
the world’s leading semiconductor foundry. TSMC will also base its extended
European research efforts at the IMEC premises.
Under the agreement, TSMC extends its collaboration with IMEC -which dates back
from 2005- as a core partner. Within IMEC’s core partner program the world-leading
foundries, IDMs, fabless and fablite companies, and material and equipment
suppliers collaborate on research and development, for 22nm and beyond, IC
Belgium attracts more and more retailers
In an international ranking publication by real estate consultant CB Richard Ellis,
“How global is the business of retail”, Belgium takes eleventh place. More and more
large international retail chains present themselves onto the Belgian marketplace:
the share of the largest 280 international stores in Belgium has increased in one year
from 34% (2007) to 38% (2008).
In the past 18 months Belgium welcomed 14 new international stores, mainly active
in the fashion and luxury segments. Some existing retailers even proceeded to
launch their new shopping concepts.
Belgian company signs major contract for the treatment of wastewater for
the city of Bagdad
The wastewater of the Iraqi capital will soon be treated thanks to Belgian wastewater
treatment technology. The company Waterleau, with headquarters in Herent
(Leuven, in the province of Vlaams-Brabant), signed a contract for the construction
of 15 wastewater treatment installations with a total installed capacity of 1,350,000
population equivalent. The contract has a value of € 22 million. All the equipment
has to be shipped to Bagdad before the end of the year.
Since ten years, Waterleau has been active worldwide in the design, engineering,
construction and operation of environmental installations and solutions. This
encompasses not only wastewater management, but also air treatment, waste
treatment and production of drinking water and renewable energy.
Belgian chemical industry spends record amount on Research &
The Belgian chemical and life sciences companies have invested a record amount of
2.34 billion euros in research and development in 2008. According to Essenscia, the
umbrella organization for businesses in the chemical sector, the research and
development expenditures have more than doubled in ten years, from 1.13 billion
euros in 1998 to 2.34 billion in 2008.
The economic crisis that broke out during the last quarter had no negative impact on
the constant increase in the budgets for innovation.
Reibel enters into contract with the United Nations
The logistics and energy group Reibel (Brussels), which specializes in sustainable
projects through its subsidiary Belpower, has entered into a contract with the United
Nations for the transport of 1,088 containers to the UN peacekeeping force in Chad.
UCB launches Vimpat® in the U.S. for add-on treatment of epilepsy in adults
UCB (Brussels) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research,
development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the
fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. UCB employs
approximately 10,000 people in over 40 countries.
UCB announced that Vimpat® (lacosamide, a new antiepileptic drug), is now
available in the U.S. as an add-on therapy for the treatment of partial-onset seizures
in people with epilepsy who are 17 years and older.
Bringing Vimpat® to U.S. patients underscores UCB's commitment to the epilepsy
community and UCB's leadership position in this disease state. Epilepsy is a common
neurological disorder that can be lifelong. It affects approximately 50 million people
worldwide and is difficult to control with a single drug. Lacosamide provides new
hope in helping patients move closer to the goal of seizure freedom.
In August 2008, the European Commission approved Vimpat®. Vimpat® is available
in Germany, the U.K., Greece, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and
Norway, with other European countries to follow. Vimpat® was approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration in October 2008.
Barco signs new cooperation agreement with Kodak
Barco, a business headquartered in Kortrijk that designs and develops visualization
products, is to supply 10,000 digital projectors to the American photography
company Kodak. Barco and Kodak will offer movie theater operators an integrated
solution for digital cinema. Barco's digital cinema projectors will be combined with
Kodak's digital cinema servers and movie theatre management systems.
Brussels Airport, 1st European airport to put “green touchdowns” to the test
Brussels Airport is to see the start of the so-called environmentally-friendly landings
using the continuous descent approach (CDA).
The CDA method is part of a test project in line with the European plan to make air
traffic more fuel friendly, emit less CO2 and reduce noise pollution.
What sets the CDA apart from the “traditional” touchdown is the earlier descent from
a higher altitude, resulting in a more gradual landing and less acceleration. With the
CDA approach, the pilot starts the landing procedure about 50 kilometres before
reaching the airport and allows the aircraft to gradually descend in a continuous
An environmentally-friendly landing saves 50 to 150 litres of fuel per flight and
reduces CO2 emissions by 160 to 470 kilogram. An added bonus is the reduction of
noise in residential areas around the airport.
Port of Antwerp launches unique trial project with shore power for seagoing
The port of Antwerp has taken an important step in the fight against port-related air
pollution. The Antwerp Port Authority, the Flemish Community and Independent
Maritime Terminal have initiated a trial project making it possible for seagoing ships
to use a shore-based electricity supply when they are lying at berth. As a
consequence they will no longer have to run their polluting onboard engines to
generate power. The environmental impact of this investment is direct, local and
significant as regards i.a. emissions of NOx, CO2 and particulates. The Port Authority
attaches great importance to this project, as shore power is an integral part of its
approach towards combating air pollution on a local scale and also contributes to
combating the greenhouse effect.
Shore power is already available for barges, pleasure craft, as well as the Port
Authority’s tug and dredger fleet, floating cranes and dry dock complex. Soon it will
also be supplied to houseboats. Until now, however, it had not been available to
seagoing ships, the segment which in view of its size has the most powerful effect on
This project is a world first: it is unique not only in terms of the amount of power
that has to be generated but also in terms of the types of ships served as well as the
technical facilities needed.
IMEC and Samsung Electronics collaborate on technologies for green radios
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and
nanotechnology. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven. IMEC’s research bridges the gap
between fundamental research at universities and technology development in
Samsung has been a strategic partner of IMEC since many years. On May 13, 2009,
Samsung Electronics signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IMEC to lay down
their intent to collaborate on technologies for green radios. The research
collaboration topics will include ICs with a radio that adapts itself to the changing
environment, not only to the communication standard, but also to the available
communication frequencies, and radio ICs for the wireless communication of massive
data streams, for example for uncompressed high-definition television streams.
Nanocyl S.A. signs agreement for establishing sales and distribution office in
Nanocyl S.A., established in 2002, is a leading global manufacturer of carbon
nanotubes. Nanocyl is headquartered in Sambreville, Belgium, and has a division in the
U.S. The Asia-Pacific market is covered through a network of partners in South Korea,
Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and China. Nanocyl’s products fully meet the
requirements of clients active in producing synthetic materials and manufacturing
equipment for the automotive and electronic industries.
On May 13, 2009, Nanocyl S.A. signed an agreement of understanding for
establishing a sales and distribution office in South Korea.
IBA sells a proton therapy system in Czech Republic
IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) in Louvain-la-Neuve is a company that develops
and sells leading edge technologies, pharmaceuticals and tailor-made solutions for
healthcare with a focus on cancer diagnosis and therapy. It has signed a contract to
install a large proton therapy center in Prague, Czech Republic. This proton therapy
center will have 4 treatment rooms with the latest options for patient positioning and
the IBA Universal Nozzle technology, including the latest Pencil Beam Scanning. IBA
is the first company with a cyclotron-based proton therapy system that has received
mid-December clearance from the FDA for Pencil Beam Scanning. The relationship
will also include a long-term service and maintenance agreement. It will take about 3
years to start operation. The first patient is expected to be treated in 2012.
Proton Therapy is increasingly considered as the ultimate radiotherapy for cancer
due to its superior dose distribution. Protons deposit the majority of their effective
energy within a precisely controlled range, directly within the tumor, and better
spare healthy surrounding tissue. Higher doses can be delivered to the tumor without
increasing the risks of side effects and long term complications, improving outcomes
and quality of life for patients.
For the first time ever, Charleroi Airport welcomes more than 300,000
passengers a month
Brussels South Charleroi airport (BSCA) processed more than 300,000 passengers in
April 2009, which is a growth of 29% compared to April 2008. The growth is largely
due to an increase in the number of destinations and frequencies from the airport.
During the first quarter of 2009, BSCA processed more than 1 million passengers.
This is 20% more than the same period a year earlier.
Port of Zeebrugge signs partnership with South Korea
The port of Zeebrugge has signed a cooperation agreement with the South Korean
coastal port Pyeongtaek. The two ports which are very comparable in terms of
infrastructure, port sector and strategy, will include information sharing and joint
organization of seminars and commercial contacts. Zeebrugge is very interested in
the thriving South Korean car market. Last year 600,000 cars were shipped from
Pyeongtaek. Zeebrugge is the world leader in this segment with more than 2 million
US biopharmaceutical company Genzyme invests in new bioreactor in Geel
US biopharmaceutical company Genzyme announced plans to further expand its hi-
tech cell culture production facility in Geel (province of Antwerp). An additional
bioreactor will increase production of the revolutionary medicine Myozyme, used for
the treatment of Pompe disease, a rare condition causing progressive muscle
weakness and leading to paralysis of the patient. Myozyme is the only medicine able
to stabilize patients.
Genzyme is one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, with 11,000
employees in locations spanning the globe. The total investment in Geel amounts to
EUR 46 million.
Genzyme estimates that the new reactor will start production in mid-2011. The new
bioreactor will be the third at the Geel biomanufacturing plant and will meet growing
demand for the drug.
Zetes signs contract in Gabon
Zetes, one of the leaders on the international market of solutions for the automatic
identification of goods and people, has been awarded a contract for the enrolment of
social insurees in Gabon. The number of people to be enrolled is estimated at around
one million. Zetes will operate as technical provider for the electronic health
programme piloted by Gemalto, world leader in digital security and manager of this
project. This programme will also be implemented in collaboration with Stimplus,
French supplier of hardware and ICT services. In addition to the delivery of the
registration kits, including the census application, Zetes is also in charge of supplying
the forms, establishing the technical assistance and training the trainers.