Record turnover and high investment in chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Belgium’s pharmaceuticals and chemicals sector had a record turnover of 65.8 billion euros in 2017, while investments totalled 2.2 billion euros, a 10-year high, according to figures presented on Thursday by the sector’s federation, Essenscia.
“The year 2017 was positive for the sector,” said Essenscia Director Yves Verschueren. “There was record turnover and employment is going in the right direction. The trend is also favourable for export, traditionally one of our strongpoints.” Prospects for the future are also positive, despite uncertainties linked to the international situation, he added.

Turnover went from 64.9 billion euros in 2016 to 65.8 billion in 2017. In 10 years, the sector grew by 26%, and it now represents about a quarter of turnover in the manufacturing industry.

Employment increased by 1,125 units and now amounts to 90,778 jobs, but it is still below the level it had reached before the crisis. “Our aim is to go back to that level at a given time,” Essenscia said.

However, the need for scientific and technical talent is particularly high. The sector lost about 22,000 experienced workers in the past 10 years due to ageing.

Meanwhile, spending on research and development reached a record high of 4.4 billion euros as against 4.1 billion in the previous year.

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