Catalonia fourth region in Europe in terms of foreign investment
The region which attracted the fourth-most foreign investment in Europe in 2015 was Catalonia. According to the Financial Times’ FDi Markets report, the Catalan economy attracted €5.224 billion throughout 2015, the highest figure of the data series, which sets Catalonia as the leading region in the Western European area. The sector which attracted most foreign investment was ICT, which according to Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, proves the “traction effect” of the Mobile World Congress for the Catalan economy. Baiget explained this good result as being due to Catalonia’s geographic situation and the neighbouring markets, as well as to its qualified workforce and its solid, diversified and innovative business network. In March, the Financial Times report FDi European Cities and Regions of the future 2016/2017 recognised Barcelona as the best city in Europe for foreign investment.
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia is the fourth region in all of Europe in terms of foreign investment attraction in 2015, according to the Financial Times’ FDI Markets. According to this source, foreign investment in Catalonia reached €5.224 billion euros, the highest figure on record and only bettered by a region in England, one in Scotland and another region in Russia. 25% of this investment was destined for the ICT sector, which according to Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, proves the “traction effect” of the Mobile World Congress for the Catalan economy. Baiget also pointed to Catalonia’s geographic situation and the power of its neighbouring markets as causes of this good figure, together with its qualified workforce and its solid, diversified and innovative business network. In March, the Financial Times report FDi European Cities and Regions of the future 2016/2017, recognised Barcelona as the best city in Europe for foreign investment.
Only two regions in the UK and one in Russia attracted more foreign investment than Catalonia in 2015 in Europe, according to the Financial Times’ FDi Markets report presented this Monday. At a meeting with businessmen, Baiget emphasised Catalonia’s escalation from the 16th position it held in 2014 to this 4th place for 2015, placing before countries such as Turkey and Ireland. In fact, last year Catalonia was the top western continental region in Europe in terms of foreign investment attracted, in front of places such as the Netherlands and France. Baiget attributed this good result to Catalonia’s geographic situation and the power of its neighbouring markets, but also to its qualified workforce and its solid, diversified and innovative business network. According to the Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge intelligent specialisation is one of the main goals, with a 2020 horizon to keep this positive trend and guarantee that foreign investment in Catalonia continues to grow throughout 2016.
Multinational investment in the ITC sector attracted 25% of the foreign investment, a sector which is a “wealth and qualified jobs generator” with a “strong growth potential”, stated Baiget. In this vein, the Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge also emphasised the “traction effect” which the Mobile World Congress has proven to have had for the Catalan economy.
15% of the foreign investment in 2015 went to the automotive sector and 8% to the services sector. Food and drink, electronics, biotechnology and chemicals attracted 5.3% of the foreign capital respectively and metallurgy and textiles 4.5%. In terms of the value chain, in first place we find industrial-manufacturing projects (36.6%), followed by services (22.3%) and headquarters (12.5%). Food and agriculture, electronics, biotechnology and chemistry attracted more than 5% of the foreign capital.
The country leading the list for foreign investment projects in the 2014-2015 period is the United States, with 16.9% of the total. It is followed by France (11.6%), Japan (8%), China (7.2%), Germany (5.3%) and Switzerland (5.3%).
A record number of projects handled by the Catalan Government
The Catalan Government agency responsible for foreign investment attraction, Catalonia Trade & Investment, put 112 investment projects into practice for multinational firms in Catalonia during the 2014-2015 period, representing an investment of 637.4 million euros. This is the two-year period with the highest figure of projects managed since the agency was established in 1985. In these two years, investment by these companies represented the creation and conservation of 10,152 jobs.
Between 2014 and 2015, 38.4% of the foreign investment projects managed by Catalonia Trade & Investment were greenfield projects, in other words from multinationals without a prior presence in Catalonia. The second type of investment (22%) came from multinationals that already had some presence in Catalonia, while 19% were expansion projects.
Barcelona, the best city in Europe for foreign investment
The Financial Times report FDi European Cities and Regions of the future 2016/2017, which multinational companies use to analyse future investment projects, recognised Catalonia as the best Southern European region to invest in 2016 and 2017. Moreover, Barcelona leads the ‘best European cities to invest’ ranking, due to its reported strategy to attract foreign investment. The Financial Times’ report also emphasised Catalonia’s plans to develop its infrastructure and its digital presence.
To elaborate this ranking, the Financial Times’s FDi Intelligence division collects information on 300 cities and 150 regions in six different fields: economic potential, the working environment, profitability, infrastructure, favourable business environment and their strategy to attract foreign investment.
Regarding the influence of Catalonia’s push for independence and its current political situation, Baiget stated that “industrial projects are long term” so that they already consider that “territories may face political and legislative changes”. “These figures prove that Catalonia continues to attract investment, therefore I’m reasonably optimist regarding the future forecasts” he added.
In the same vein, last November former Catalan Minister for Business and Labour, denied that companies were leaving or moving their tax base to other parts of Spain due to the Catalan political process, on the contrary, he pointed out, more companies are leaving Madrid to set up their tax base in other Autonomous Communities. Puig attributed such "false" statements to "an orchestrated campaign with distorted data" that he claimed has been carried out to induce "fear" in companies, investors and the whole of the Catalan citizenry. He also emphasised that some of the companies which have changed their tax base have kept the business and the production within Catalonia and noted the 281% rise in foreign investment in Catalonia.
Outstanding investments to come
At the end of 2015, multinational Nestlé confirmed its investment to set up a plant in Girona (in the north of Catalonia) for the production of their Dolce Gusto products. In the same vein, Easyjet announced to move their operating base from Madrid to Barcelona next year in order "to be more competitive".
The North American giant Amazon has chosen the Catalan capital to set up its first express delivery centre in Europe, to complement the creation of Amazon’s biggest logistics centre in the South of Europe, which the company announced it is to build in El Prat de Llobregat, close to Barcelona El Prat Airport.
In March, Zurich Insurance Group announced it is to establish its global data centre ‘Big Data’ in Barcelona. Zurich sources confirmed to CNA that the global data centre will create 200 jobs, to be added to the 250 positions that the Zurich Group has already created in Barcelona. The company explained that while it has not yet established a date to launch this venture, the global data centre is devised as a two-year project.