In 2021, twice as many openings as plant closures in France

In 2021, France started to open more factories again than it closed, after the brake on the year 2020 marked by a number of closures of industrial sites higher than that of openings, according to the report of annual magazine L’Usine Nouvelle published on Wednesday (1/12).

France has counted this year more than twice as many openings of industrial sites as its’ closings, with 53 new industrial establishments listed between January 1 and November 18, against 24 closures, indicates the December edition of the review, which does not provide information on the dimensions of these sites, neither in jobs nor in production volume. The new establishments are production sites, but also logistics platforms and Research and Development (R&D) centers, to which must be added 31 extensions and 25 modernizations of production tools in already existing factories.

Although many new sites belong to well-established groups (Ratier-Figeac in Figeac in the Lot, Lactalis in Condat-en-Féniers in Cantal, Faurecia in Allenjoie in the Doubs) the industrial fabric that is emerging is different of what already exists, notes the review, with the appearance of sites from start-ups such as Lhyfe or McPhy (hydrogen), Metabolic Explorer and Carbios (green chemistry). The map of new sites also shows foreign investments in France, such as the Indian metal tube manufacturer Electrosteel in Arles or the German pharmaceutical group Merck, which will manufacture sterile bags in Molsheim in Alsace.

A very low number of closures

Finally, several new investments are also focused on recycling and circular economy projects, such as that of Sources Alma, which invested 80 million euros in Saint-Yorre in the Allier region in a new site for recycling its bottles in plastic. In Seine-Maritime, the northern family business Baudelet Environnement has invested 16 million euros to dismantle trains at its Grémonville site.

As for site closures, Usine Nouvelle has listed 24, of which Bridgestone in Béthune (Pas-de-Calais) is the most emblematic with the loss of 860 jobs. “Rarely have plant closings been so few” notes the magazine, which nevertheless underlines the structural difficulties of certain sectors faced with the transitions underway, the most emblematic being that of foundries subcontracting to automotive manufacturers. For which they manufacture large pieces of metal.

With the abandonment of heat engines and the gradual cessation of fossil fuels for individual journeys, the climate transition is forcing the Fonderie du Poitou Fonte in Ingrandes (Vienne), MBF Aluminum in Cote d’Or, SAM (Jinjiang) in Aveyron and the FVM aluminum foundry in Villers-la-Montagne (Meurthe-et-Moselle), have gone out of business.