Tuesday, May 24, 2016

News: Foreign Direct Investment increases in region

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The UK gave an outstanding performance attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2015, bringing in a record 1,065 FDI projects and creating over 42,000 jobs, the most in any year since Ernst & Young launched the Attractiveness programme in 1997.

The multinational professional services firm analyses the attractiveness of a particular region or country as an investment destination and the report is designed to help businesses make investment decisions and governments remove barriers to growth.

According to the latest UK Attractiveness Survey, Yorkshire and the Humber landed the 83 projects, which represent an increase of 66% on 2014's figures when the region attracted 50 projects.

31 FDI projects were recorded in Leeds in 2015, seven in Sheffield; six in Barnsley; and three in Rotherham.

Stuart Watson, Yorkshire & Humber senior partner at EY, said: "The work that has taken place to position the whole of Yorkshire & Humberside as a strong investment location in the global marketplace is starting to pay off. These figures show that the international investment community has seen the potential in the region with its access to the right skills, infrastructure and strong supply chain networks."

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London dominated overall but the report also showed that manufacturing FDI is powering the UK's regional resurgence. With London attracting only a tiny slice of manufacturing production investments, any increase in the UK's performance in securing manufacturing FDI has a disproportionately positive impact at a regional level. Yorkshire and the West Midlands were the big winners when it came to manufacturing FDI.

For the year Yorkshire and Humberside attracted 42 investment projects in the manufacturing sector. This included six HQs, three R&D facilities and 27 plants.

The report shows that the UK has a 14% European market share of manufacturing FDI projects versus over 20% on average across all sectors. Its authors add that, given the difficult environment facing the manufacturing sector, it's important to act now to attract more projects of this type. Watson added: "The UK attracted more manufacturing projects than Germany for the second year running, underpinned by the strong performance of the North. But there is still more market share to be had. We need a more clearly articulated and ambitious manufacturing strategy. Investors in this sector particularly highlight how important infrastructure, especially roads, is when deciding where to locate.

"Improving transport links throughout the North is particularly important for achieving economic growth. The groundwork for this transformation is now taking place, and recent developments such as the establishment of Transport for the North committee and the development of the Northern Transport Strategy should serve to provide clear ideas and a unified voice for advancing the North’s transport investment priorities with the Government.

"The demand for good transport infrastructure makes projects such as HS3 and the electrification of the transpennine rail route are all the more essential, as they will bring better connectivity within the region, reduce logistic times, and could expand the catchment for skilled labour."

While the US dominated in all UK regions, significant sources of investment for Yorkshire and the Humber were India, the Netherlands and Germany.

India was the second biggest origin for FDI projects for Yorkshire and the Humber in 2015, compared to fifth by number of projects for the UK as a whole. China, however, which was ranked 3rd in the UK as a whole didn't rank in the top nine in Yorkshire and the Humber.

FDI projects covered by Rothbiz in 2015 include South Korean multinational KD Navien choosing Rotherham for its UK HQ.

investments came in the form of Nikken Kosakusho Europe opening its £4m development on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and planning for a £3m extension; American-owned JELD-WEN, the leading manufacturing company, investing almost £4m in its Woodhouse Mill production facilities to meet increased product demand; and Irish-owned MGB Plastics, making a seven figure investment in new machinery at its Rotherham facility to help increase production and target new markets.

Takeovers included Rotherham-based Hempel Wire, one of the world's leading round and shaped wire manufacturers, being acquired by Canadian firm, Central Wire Industries; and the acquisition of Rotherham-based Acorn Industrial Services Group, one of the largest power transmission distributors in the country, by the Swedish industrial group, Axel Johnson International.

March saw Denmark's Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners invest £150m when it acquired 100% of the Brite Partnerhsip's biomass-fired power plant project at Templeborough.

EY website

Images: EY

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