A string of international companies moving to the West Midlands has put the region top of the UK’s overseas investment chart for five years running.
2020 marks the fifth year in a row that the region has been hailed as the UK’s leading location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) outside of London and the South East, new data from the Department for International Trade shows.
The latest figures reveal the region attracted 157 new FDI projects in 2019/20. This accounts for eight per cent of the UK’s total number secured, and is the largest share generated of all UK regions outside of the capital and surrounding South East area.
The biggest sources of investment in the West Midlands since 2015 have been the US, Germany, France and India. In total, 802 foreign investments have been made in the region during this time.
Business Professional and Financial Services (BPFS), Advanced Manufacturing, Transport Technologies and Tech & Digital have been the region’s most popular sectors for attracting international companies.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive at the West Midlands Growth Company, the region’s investment promotion agency, said: “Even amid a period of global economic uncertainty, the West Midlands has performed consistently strongly in attracting overseas investment, which speaks volumes about the quality of what we have to offer across a diverse breadth of industries.
“This robust track record of international appeal clearly signals our credentials as a global business destination, and takes us confidently into a defining decade for the West Midlands.
“Our region is set to benefit from many exciting and exclusive milestones – such as the 2021 Coventry City of Culture, 2022 Commonwealth Games, new High-Speed 2 rail infrastructure and 5G multi-city testbed facilities – which will give us a uniquely competitive advantage over other locations to attract investment in the future.”
The region’s established reputation as a major manufacturing hub drew the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance fibre lasers, IPG Photonics, to invest in a new, purpose-built UK head office at Coventry’s Ansty Park in 2019.
Headquartered in Massachusetts (US), the company committed to creating a 50,000 sq ft facility and 30 new high-value jobs in the West Midlands to accelerate laser-based manufacturing in the UK.
Location and supply chain were the enticing factors for IPG Photonics, who were excited by the prospects of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and local university expertise, as well as the region’s leading role in advancing the UK’s emerging industries.
David Goodwin, Managing Director, IPG Photonics UK, said:“We believe the region will play a leading role in driving the UK’s productivity capabilities and wider Industrial Strategy – for us, there isn’t a better placed location to accelerate the industrialisation of laser-based manufacturing.”
One of China’s largest investment groups, Fosun International bought Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club (Wolves) in 2016 for £45 million.
Birmingham’s position at the heart of the UK’s new High-Speed 2 (HS2) rail network led Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting (DB E&C) to set up its new UK and Ireland HQ.
Part of Deutsche Bahn – Germany’s national railway company and one of the biggest train operators and rail infrastructure managers in the world – DB E&C has created new jobs and supported engineering skills development.
The firm has also partnered with the University of Birmingham to create career opportunities for local graduates and open up R&D projects.