BELGIUM: Daikin Europe is to become Daikin Industries’ global centre of expertise for low carbon heating solutions and its heat pump technology.

Despite the impact on world markets by the coronavirus, demand for heat pumps in Europe over the past year enabled Daikin Europe to buck the downturn in sales experienced by the company’s Japanese parent. While Daikin Industries’ recently released annual accounts reported global sales down 2.2% in the 12 months to the end of March, its European subsidiary returned 2.2% growth to €3.07bn.

Construction of Daikin’s new €140m R&D centre in Ghent is scheduled to begin this year. When completed at the end 2023 it will house the full R&D centre. The aim is to grow the number of R&D engineers from 220 today to 380 in 2025. In addition, Daikin Europe is to become Daikin Industries’ global centre of expertise for low carbon heating solutions, with a big focus on heat pump technology.

Investments are also planned at Daikin Europe’s EMEA HQ with 111 new positions to fill this year to support the growth ambitions across its business. In addition to new R&D jobs, recruits are being sought in business development and supporting functions such as supply chain, HR and IT.

Strong demand

Daikin Europe admits it experienced difficulties in the commercial market over the last 12 months, especially in hotels and restaurants, retail and offices sectors due to the Covid lockdowns. Premises were closed and projects stalled all over EMEA. However, the company reveals strong demand for HVAC solutions in residential applications, and green home renovations with heat pumps replacing traditional boilers.

Particularly good results were experienced in the Benelux, France and Germany, but even in Italy, a country hard hit by the Covid crisis, Daikin managed to achieve positive growth, thanks in part to government heat pump incentives.

Thanks to its large local production base – 85% of the sales for Europe is produced in Europe – Daikin says it was able to shift production capacity in order to meet demand. Production at the company’s Ostend plant was interrupted for only two days as its factories throughout Europe adapted to maintain safe production. Daikin’s AHU factory in the severely hit Lombardy region in Italy had to close only during the government enforced 10 working days.

Daikin was also able to switch its network of commercial equipment installers to residential installation work.