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Major global firms set to expand in France at Macron's 'Choose France' summit

Major global firms set to expand in France Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Morgan Stanley are actively preparing to increase their business operations in France, an expansion that is part of a broader initiative by these companies to tap into the French market. This step is set to be officially disclosed at an event marking a significant increase in foreign investments into the country, scheduled for the upcoming Monday.

At this significant gathering, President Emmanuel Macron will play host to an assembly of 180 chief executives and senior executives from various industries at the Château de Versailles. The "Choose France" summit, now in its seventh iteration, serves as a key component of the Macron administration's comprehensive strategy aimed at rejuvenating France's industrial base. The summit is designed to attract foreign investment by simplifying the regulatory environment in France and establishing it as a crucial financial hub within the European Union, especially in the context of the economic shifts following Brexit.

During the summit, there will be a formal announcement of 56 new projects, representing a total investment exceeding €15 billion ($16.2 billion). This amount surpasses the previous year's total of €13 billion, highlighting an upward trend in foreign investment, as confirmed by the Elysee Palace.

Amazon's planned investment of €1.2 billion in France is a standout among the announced projects. The investment aims to enhance Amazon's logistical network and augment its computing capacities, with a particular focus on advancing its AI capabilities within its AWS cloud division. This expansion is projected to generate approximately 3,000 new jobs, contributing significantly to local employment opportunities. In the pharmaceutical sector, Pfizer intends to reinvest €500 million in its French operations, while AstraZeneca has earmarked approximately €365 million for projects in the Dunkirk area, reflecting continued growth and investment in France's health and biotechnology sectors.

Morgan Stanley is expanding its presence by enlarging its European campus located in the heart of Paris. This expansion will include the establishment of a global research hub. Since the year 2021, Morgan Stanley has significantly increased its workforce in Paris, growing from 150 to approximately 400 employees. The firm plans to further expand by adding another 100 employees across its various Parisian divisions, including its research and development center, which is expected to grow from 90 to 120 employees.

In addition to these expansions, new entrants into the Parisian market include the First Abu Dhabi Bank and Nigeria’s Zenith Bank, which are opening offices. This move is part of a broader strategy to support French companies looking to expand their investments into the Gulf region and English-speaking parts of Africa. The establishment of these offices underscores Paris's evolving role as a critical node in the global financial network.

Further investments into sustainable industrial projects have also been highlighted by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. These include a €300 million investment by Swiss-based KL1 into a nickel refining plant, which is crucial for the production of batteries used in electric vehicles. This plant will be located in Blanquefort, near Bordeaux, and will employ around 200 people. Additionally, German startup Lilium is set to invest €400 million to build a facility for assembling vertical take-off electric jets in the southwest of France, a project expected to create up to 850 jobs.

The environmental and sustainable technology sector in France is also seeing significant investment, with the European consortium FertigHy planning to invest €1.3 billion in a facility to produce low-carbon nitrogen fertilizer in Northern France by 2030. Furthermore, the Belgian chemical company Solvay is preparing to launch a production unit for rare earths at its La Rochelle site, with an investment projected at €100 million. These initiatives are part of France's broader strategy to lead in decarbonized industrial technology.

Looking ahead, an additional €3 billion worth of technology and AI-related projects are anticipated to be announced. These will include new data centers to be developed by KDDI and Equinix, highlighting France's growing capacity in high-tech infrastructure.

Despite facing criticism for its stringent labor laws and complex regulatory environment, France is actively enhancing its attractiveness as a financial center. This endeavor is particularly aimed at reinforcing Paris's position as a hub for financial activities within Europe. This strategy has drawn increased interest from companies in Asia, the Middle East, Canada, and Australia, considering establishing or expanding their operations in Paris.

Since Brexit, Paris has increasingly been recognized as a financial hub within the EU. The city has attracted numerous banks and hedge funds seeking a stable base within the EU for their operations. The Brexit vote in 2016 necessitated a reconfiguration of how Wall Street's major banks handled European asset trades, ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks within the remaining 27 EU countries.

To further underline France's commitment to strengthening its financial sector, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire will host a luncheon on Monday. This event will feature notable figures from the financial world, including JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon, KKR co-founder Henry Kravis, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, and Bank of America head Brian Moynihan. This gathering is indicative of the high level of international interest in France's financial market potential and the ongoing efforts to attract global financial leaders to invest in the French economy.



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