Baron George Jacobs, chief executive of UCB Group S.A., a Brussels-based conglomerate, said Belgian bioscience firms consider Atlanta a prime location for U.S. operations because of the city’s partnerships among research universities and government agencies.
Mr. Jacobs, who is chairman of the Union of Employers’ Confederation in Europe, an organization of some 18 million companies and 100 million workers, spoke during a reception at Belgian Consul General Herve Goyens’ home last week.
Georgia’s economic development agencies, including the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, are actively promoting bioscience investment here, and partnerships among Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and other research organizations form a strong base for Belgian bioscience firms to locate near Atlanta, Mr. Jacobs said.
Some 40 Belgian companies currently have operations in Georgia, and several of these are suppliers to the bioscience industry. They include Innogenetics Inc., an Alpharetta medical equipment firm; Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Marietta pharmaceuticals manufacturer and UCB Inc., a Smyrna holding company for other UCB chemical or pharmaceutical companies including UCB Chemicals Corp., UCB Films Inc. and UCB Pharma Inc.
Mr. Jacobs noted that Belgian firms have been actively investing in the United States this year, with at least seven new operations throughout the country. More than 330 Belgian companies are currently operating in the U.S. in a variety of sectors, he added.
Most Belgian companies here are in the food industry, while agriculture producers, restaurants, chemical manufacturers, beer brewers, banking service firms, steel products companies and electronics and consulting firms are also represented.
Belgian companies have operations in 41 of 50 U.S. states but are concentrated in the Southeast and, especially, in Georgia, Florida and North and South Carolina.
Contact the Belgian Consulate at (404) 659-2150.