Tuesday, June 23, 2015

News: 1,000 more jobs through inward investment

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A thousand more jobs were created through foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the Sheffield city region in 2014-15, according to figures collected by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

UKTI is the Government's trade body that works to encourage and support overseas companies to look at the UK as the best place to set up or expand their business. It also works with UK based businesses to ensure their success in international markets through exports.

The annual investment figures from UKTI for the 2014/15 financial year show the UK attracted 1,988 FDI projects - 12% more than 2013/14 – estimated to have brought with them almost 85,000 new jobs and 23,000 safeguarded jobs across the UK.

The UK received the highest number and value of FDI projects in Europe in 2014 and the strong performance has seen the country's inward FDI stock – the value of accumulated FDI in the UK – break the £1 trillion level for the first time. This is the highest in Europe and third in the world after the United States and China.

Figures show that 24 "successes" coming via UKTI were into the Sheffield city region, down from the 28 in the previous year. The projects resulted in an estimated 1,046 new jobs and 280 safeguarded jobs. This compares to 1,755 new, and 131 safeguarded, jobs in 2013/14.

Three further UKTI projects covered a number of areas including the Sheffield city region.

The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has its own inward investment team, which works with UKTI and local authorities and targets potential investors across the UK and overseas.

Through its Strategic Economic Plan, the LEP has set ambitious targets for private sector growth and includes the ambition to attract 10,000 jobs over the next ten years from organisations based (owned) outside of the city region.

The LEP is set to use half of a £52m growth fund to support significant inward investment and a recent funding call was made to use £3.5m of EU cash to bring forward land and premises for employment sites, specifically targeting inward investment from foreign firms wanting ready built premises.

The initiatives are to address the fact that the Sheffield city region is not attracting its per head population share of UKTI inward investment compared to other Northern economies. The call said that: "Sheffield city region is still lagging behind the national average and neighbouring Local Enterprise Partnership area performance levels, particularly in relation to job creation, despite the increase in 2012/13."

Closer working with UKTI has seen the number of project leads for investments from UKTI increase from just three in 2011.

Comparable LEP regions include Leeds City Region LEP which saw 46 projects via UKTI in 2014/5 (down from 55 the previous year), and the North East LEP which saw 44 projects in 2014/5 (up from 38 in the previous year). Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP recorded 33 UKTI projects in 2014/15, an increase on 27 in the previous year. The Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP had the highest number of "successes" in 2014/15 with 73 which was down from 77 in the previous year.

Of the 28 projects coming into the Sheffield city region, nine came from the Americas, five from the Asia Pacific region and ten from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Seven were from new investors whilst 17 came from existing investors already in the region.

Investment types included three mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures, 13 new investments and eight expansions. Four related to European HQ projects, seven to manufacturing operations, three to research and development, three to sales operations and nine to services.

Nine of the FDI projects came from the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector, eight from business, professional and financial services, two from energy environment and infrastructure, two from the creative, digital & media and ICT sector and three from advanced engineering / life sciences.

Rotherham FDI projects reported by Rothbiz over the period include South Korean multinational KD Navien, a leading manufacturer of condensing boilers, choosing Rotherham for its UK HQ; Nikken Kosakusho Europe investing £3.6m in a new facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP); and JELD-WEN investing almost £4m in its Woodhouse Mill production facilities to meet increased product demand.

Deals included Hempel Wire's acquisition by Canadian firm, Central Wire Industries; Focus NDT being acquired by the US-based MISTRAS Group; Northern Engineering (Sheffield) Ltd (NES), acquisition by American specialist private investment partnership, Industrial Growth Partners (IGP), as part of a deal for parent company, Sanders Industries; and the conclusion of the £1 billion deal struck by Mexico's Grupo Bimbo to take over Canada Bread, the company owned by Maple Leaf Foods. The deal includes the largest bagel production facility in Europe, based at Swinton in Rotherham.

March saw Danish investors, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners acquire 100% of the Brite Partnerhsip's biomass-fired power plant project at Templeborough for £150m.

Sheffield city region inward investment website

Images: Harworth Estates

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