Agfa is a leading company both in graphic arts and healthcare businesses. The company has been in France since 1935. In 2012, they have been elected the most innovative Belgian company in France. In this interview, Christian Reinaudo, President and CEO, tells us why Agfa chose to invest in France.
What is Agfa’s main business?
Agfa is a company that has two main core businesses, both are related to the history of the company, which used to be a big film manufacturer: on one side graphic arts; and on the other, Agfa’s healthcare business.
What are the key numbers for your company?
The first number I would like to give is the number of people working for Agfa, because they are the key asset of the company: around 12,000 in the world. The second is our company’s turnover, which is a little more than €3 billion. And the third is the amount of money we spend on research and development, because we are a technology company: every year, we spend from €150-160 million on R&D.
Why did you choose to set up a business in France?
We have a factory in France near Lille, in Pont-à-Marcq, which was built in 1935. In terms of industrial presence, we have been in France for a long time. France is a natural territory for Agfa because of our long presence in the country and the acquisitions we have made in the last 10 to 15 years in the healthcare sector.
France is also a big market in Europe. Agfa has deep roots in Europe. And of course when you want to sell lots of products, it’s better to sell products in France.
What else makes France attractive to you as an investor?
France is attractive firstly because of the talent available here. It’s a place where you can easily find engineers for all businesses. You can find engineers for R&D and talented people for services, to deliver and install products, in IT, etc.
In terms of investments, there are a few things that are attractive like France’s research tax credit. I mentioned earlier our factory in Pont-à-Marcq. The employees working there have been fantastic over time in terms of adaptability, because they used to manufacture films, then they moved to plates containing silver. So there’s a mix of things which are making this country attractive.
Did your company receive any support to set up your business in France from the Invest in France Agency or from its regional partners?
Over time, we have had two strong sources of support. Firstly from the Aquitaine Regional Council with whom we have a very good relationship and some common programs; and secondly from the Invest in France Agency, as in 2012 we were elected as the most innovative Belgian company in France. We received this award for the development and investment we are making in Bordeaux.
What are Agfa’s future plans in France?
We have been successful enough in the last three to four years to secure large contracts with large university hospitals, such as the APHP (Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris) for which we delivered the largest information system ever built for hospitals in Europe.
The key focus of the company in France in the next few years will be information systems for hospitals. That’s the main driver. The second is probably what we can do with inject printing. I believe that the digitization of printing in France will be one of the key markets and probably the most advanced market over time. And of course, this is an area in which we would like to make substantial investments.