Atlanta-based agricultural equipment giant AGCO Corp. is putting €40 million (about $44.3 million) more into its factory complex in Beauvais, France, the home of its Massey Ferguson brand.
Martin Richenhagen, chairman, president and CEO of AGCO, announced ahead of the Choose France summit led by French President Emmanuel Macron that AGCO would make good on a pledge made a year ago.
The expansion will focus on unifying and upgrading the site, adding 39 acres (including 11 acres of buildings) next door and spending on technology and processes that will help boost output to 18,000 tractors per year.
The consolidated and refurbished Massey Ferguson Centre of Excellence for Engineering and Manufacturing in Beauvais will include a tractor customization workshop, in-house production of hoses currently sourced from Asia and 3D printing capabilities that will make complex, low-volume plastic and metal parts starting in February and next year, respectively.
Customers will also be able to send their gearboxes to be re-engineered to original equipment specifications rather than replacing their entire tractors.
The expanded facility will also bring relocate some operations around the campus, smoothing out purchasing and engineering while adding space for research and development.
Doubling down on the France operation comes as no surprise from Mr. Richenhagen, who has long defied stereotypes by praising the strike-torn country’s work ethic, specifically in the Picardie region north of Paris.
A fluent French speaker, the German executive in late 2018 was honored with the French Legion of Honour for his role in promoting and preserving French industry, and for his commitment to French language and culture.
At an award ceremony at the headquarters in Duluth, French government officials especially commended AGCO’s commitment to the Beauvais region during the dark days of the global financial crisis.
For his part, Mr. Richenhagen said his experience with French culture helped him overcome what he thought would be tough negotiations with local unions. He also stressed continued expansion, with the goal of “in-sourcing” more production — an item featured prominently in the new investment.
The latest expansion will add 200 jobs (up to 2,500) and bring to nearly €300 million the amount invested in Beauvais since AGCO moved the Massey Ferguson brand there from England eight years ago. That could only happen with the help of local governments of Beauvais, Agglo du Beauvaisis, Oise, Hauts-de-France and the Préfet Cabinet of Oise, Mr. Richenhagen said.
“This is no coincidence. They have created a business-friendly environment that makes it possible for large international companies such as AGCO to invest in France,” he said in a statement. “This new, single unified site presents opportunities for AGCO and Massey Ferguson to implement growth plans, previously limited by a lack of space.”
Massey Ferguson’s location in France will continue to serve AGCO’s expansion in French-speaking areas of Africa, where some countries even have a “Massey” picture on the currency.
Read more about Mr. Richenhagen’s knighthood and the history of the Beauvais site here: AGCO Chief Executive Knighted for Commitment to France’s Culture and Economy
See more in the company’s news release here.