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West Midlands welcomes foreign investment boost

Published on Thursday, 28 June 2018

The West Midlands is the only UK area to have witnessed growth in both the number of foreign investment projects and employment, according to new research.

A total of 171 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects were recorded during 2017/18, with the number of associated jobs reaching 9,424 - the highest number of new jobs created in any area outside London.


Research from the Department for International Trade said the West Midlands welcomed a 13 per cent increase in FDI projects and a 43 per cent rise in the number of jobs recorded compared with 2016/17 while all other UK regions witnessed a decrease on either one or both counts.

Table shows FDI projects and jobs created by region

English Region FDI Projects New Jobs
London 740 17,478
South East 294 5,238
West Midlands 171 9,424
North West 139 3,689
Yorkshire & The Humber 107 4,623
South West 99 3,653
East of England 94 2,235
East Midlands 72 3,714
North East 69 2,379

Neil Rami, chief executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, said: "Our investment strategy for the region is centered on supporting an inclusive, diversified economy and attracting quality projects that yield the greatest employment opportunities.

"These latest figures represent a huge vote of confidence in our approach and how the West Midlands is perceived internationally.

"Foreign companies are investing here as they to look to capitalise on the flourishing network of innovation hubs, R&D facilities and enterprise zones that underpin the West Midlands' success.

"The region's leading advanced manufacturing supply chain includes heavyweights such as JLR, Guhring and Rolls Royce, while the strategic central location of the West Midlands and its world-class talent pool have fostered both the UK's largest technology and digital and professional services sectors outside the capital."

Investors in the West Midlands during 2017/18 included Austrian manufacturer Benteler Automotive and a trio of US companies - technical testing company Exova, engineering and project management company Bechtel and hydraulics manufacturer HydraForce.

Paul Gibbs, Bechtel's managing director of UK infrastructure, said: "The West Midlands is investing at an unprecedented level in its infrastructure, with major schemes such as HS2 underpinning the region's growth potential.

"By locating here, we are ideally positioned to capitalise on these opportunities and pursue further projects across the region's highways, rail and aviation markets, working with Highways England, Network Rail and key infrastructure organisations.

"We were already working closely with HS2 at its Birmingham headquarters so to have a physical presence nearby made complete sense."

At a national level, the US, Germany and China led the way as the largest sources of investment into the country.

The UK's environment, infrastructure and transportation sector attracted the most FDI followed by the food and drink sector.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
European Union Investing in Your Future
Telephone 0121 704 6151
Email business@solihull.gov.uk
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