Foreign companies located in the Niederrhein region

Amongst the German Federal States, North Rhine-Westphalia, with around a quarter of all foreign investment in Germany, regularly achieves the highest grading, putting it in the position of being Germany’s Nr. 1* investment location.

Within NRW and behind the two regional metropolises Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn, the Niederrhein region and the Ruhr metropolis take it in turns to be in third position.

Located within the Niederrhein region are more than 11,000 foreign companies, of which around 2,700 are noted in the Register of Companies (HR-Unternehmen) and about 8,350 are registered as small traders. (Hereafter only figures of “HR-Unternehmen” are being referred to. The figures have been rounded).

The sectors which are represented the most frequently are trade (1,070), the service sector (560) and the manufacturing sector (350), followed by real estate and housing (190), the building trade (100) as well as transport and warehousing (90).

Top countries of origin are the Netherlands with 1,250 companies followed by Switzerland (160) and the USA (130). Further positions are taken by Great Britain (130), Belgium (110), Greater China (incl. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also 110), Japan (90), Italy and France (80 each).

1st Place: The Netherlands
Not only the close proximity to the Netherlands, but also the cultivation of good neighbourliness makes the Niederrhein region one of the first choices as a location for Dutch companies. Approximately half of all the foreign companies located in the Niederrhein region have Dutch owners, in total 1,250. In turn more than 50% of these companies have chosen the district of Kleve to locate in. It is here that particularly close knit sector and business networks criss-cross the border region allowing the country borders to be almost overlooked.

A good third of the Dutch companies located in the Niederrhein can be assigned to the trading sector followed some way behind by the service sector and manufacturing.

Prominent Dutch companies often have a relation to the agribusiness such as Kofu Tiernahrung (the animal feedstuffs brand name of the Agrifirm Group), Mekkafood (Halal meat for the Islamic community), Refresco (fruit juice) and Suntjens Süßwaren Import und Export (confectionary).
Probably the best known wholesaler with connections to the agribusiness, though organised on a different basis by the producers themselves, is Landgard eG with its offices near to the border in Straelen-Herongen (district of Kleve). In 2010 a Dutch participant in the market from Venlo became a joint venture partner in this internationally positioned marketing co-operative. 

But also dealers and producers from other sectors have become well established in the Niederrhein. For example Café Bar (coffee machines), LeasePlan Deutschland (vehicle fleet management), Leolux Möbelfabrik (furniture), Plasticon Germany (composites), REDSUN garden products, Vanderlande Industries (logistic equipment), VINK Kunststoffe (semi-finished plastics) and Vos Logistics Goch.
2nd Place: Switzerland
It is not always immediately apparent that Swiss investors are from Switzerland. For example from amongst the approximately 160 companies identified as being of Swiss origin, brands from other continents can be found that have chosen Switzerland as their European headquarters and carry out investment in other countries from there. But there are also prominent “genuine” Swiss companies that have located in the Niederrhein region: the Nestlé Group with Nestlé Waters and the brand name Thomy; the Starrag Group with the machine tool manufacturer Dörries Scharmann Technolgie; Zepter International with the silver plater Silberwarenfabrik Jäger as well as the sportswear company ODLO Sports. For the most part they are service and trading companies.
3rd Place: USA
Virtually level with Switzerland is the USA, also with about 160 companies. Over a period of more than 60 years 3M Deutschland in Neuss has developed into a European research centre and has become the second largest subsidiary of this technology concern outside of the USA. The starch manufacturer Cargill Deutschland can also show a similar long tradition at their location in Krefeld which they acquired a few years ago. Further examples of US American investment in the Niederrhein are: Cook Deutschland (medical devices); Johnson Controls Interior (automotive parts); Johnson & Johnson (Healthcare); MARS (confectionery); Signode System (packaging) and Woodward Kempen (electronic control systems). From Neuss the logistics company UPS runs its European hub together with its location based at the International Airport Cologne/Bonn.
* This and information given hereafter is based on data available as of September 2014.