Greater Birmingham leads British regions for foreign investment
Region announces UK’s best foreign direct investment (FDI) figures
73 projects – the highest of any LEP area – across range of sectors
Investment led by advanced manufacturing and financial & professional services firms
US firms lead the surge, accounting for more than a fifth of all investments
More foreign businesses invested in Greater Birmingham & Solihull in 2014/15 than any other LEP region, according to UK Trade & Investment’s latest figures released today (Friday 19 June).
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) area attracted 73 new FDI projects, 9% more than the next highest LEP. Investors included world-famous brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG, Virgin Media and Amazon.
Foreign investment into the GBSLEP area created and safeguarded a total of 6,104 jobs; nearly 1,800 more than any other UK LEP. This comprised 4,739 new jobs – 1,634 (53%) higher than the second ranked LEP – and 1,365 safeguarded roles.
US firms were the most prominent investors, accounting for 22% of all projects. Hydraulics manufacturer HydraForce, which is moving to Birmingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub, and Virgin Media, which recently expanded in the city, were among the biggest investments.
While Birmingham was responsible for two-thirds (66%) of all projects with a record high of 48, Solihull attracted a 15% share with 11 investments – including IT firm Pomeroy and further expansion at automotive manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover.
Incoming firms have cited Greater Birmingham’s transport links, affordable space and strong talent pool as major draws. The region has been transformed in recent years, attracting firms from a range of different sectors.
Overseas investment was primarily driven by advanced manufacturing, which represented 40% of all projects, followed by business, professional and financial services (BPFS) with a third (30%) and IT and digital, with 15%. All three sectors have been heavily targeted as part of the region’s strategy to diversify its economy and create the greatest employment opportunities for the local workforce.
The automotive industry was responsible for over half (51%) of all manufacturing investments into the GBSLEP. This included Indian firm Amtek Auto Group building a £5 million facility in Kidderminster and creating 100 jobs – and the expansion of Spanish-owned Maier UK in Burntwood, Staffordshire.
Big Four accountancy firm KMPG, which is headquartered in the Netherlands, created 50 new jobs in Birmingham’s business district last year, citing its large talent pool and location as important factors behind its appeal to big international firms. BPFS has also attracted major domestic investment into the region, with HSBC recently announcing that its new ring-fenced bank and 1,000 roles will be moving to Birmingham. BPFS was responsible for 22 investments this year, compared with 16 in 2013/14.
Significant investment from tech and creative firms reflects the region’s emergence as a hub for nimble high-tech firms. Retail giant Amazon has expanded in Rugeley, Staffordshire, while fellow US firm Uber recently set up an office in Birmingham, citing demand for local graduates and the burgeoning young professional community as major reasons for investing in the region.
Rebecca Bannister, Communications Manager, Marketing Birmingham
0121 202 5112 / 07903 924 896 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabia Raza, Communications Executive, Marketing Birmingham
0121 202 5002 / email@example.com
Comments and case studies
Andy Street, chairman of the GBSLEP, commented:
“Greater Birmingham has transformed itself into a globally recognised business destination for companies across a range of industries. That it is attracting more foreign investment than any other region is testament to this. The region is leading the way in advanced manufacturing, and is fast becoming a global hub for financial services and digital firms. Foreign investment is helping to stimulate a private sector led recovery that is creating thousands of new jobs across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“If Birmingham is successful, the whole region surrounding it is successful. The city is helping to drive foreign business investment into the wider area, which brings benefits to everyone. More jobs, and more growth and prosperity. We’re a city on the rise, and have proved that we are capable of working with other local authorities to drive the regional economy forward.”
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, commented:
“The region has worked incredibly hard over the past decade in a bid to attract more foreign investment. We’re seeing the fruits of that labour now, across a range of high-tech, high-growth sectors – particularly advanced manufacturing, financial services and digital. We’re laying the foundations to attract even more investors here; building an unprecedented amount of modern office space, investing record amounts to improve transport links, and working tirelessly to support companies all over the region. It’s our ambition to become an internationally competitive financial services hub by 2030. We’re already well on our way.”
Prime Minister David Cameron stated:
“The scale of foreign investment is a huge success story which shows that Britain is the place to do business and is more evidence that our long term economic plan is working. Investment from overseas is creating thousands of jobs, providing security and opportunities for working people throughout the UK.
“Here in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, we’ve seen over 70 new projects, creating over 4700 new jobs and safeguarding over 1300 more.”
Mike Steventon, regional chairman of KPMG, said:
“Birmingham is a fantastic place for talent – it’s got top class universities and schools, with increasing link ups between the city’s big employers and these educational institutions. The professional services industry alone is investing in growing the city’s talent pool, through a professional services academy, mentoring within schools and apprenticeship initiatives. Such nurturing of talent is a key part of Birmingham’s journey to become a world-class financial services hub, an ambition that I have no doubt we will see come to fruition.”
Peter MacDonald, Managing Director at HydraForce Ltd, commented:
“Greater Birmingham boasts a world-class manufacturing supply-chain and offers excellent support from local government, making it the perfect location for us to expand. As a global business it’s crucial that our employees are highly skilled and we have a diverse workforce. Greater Birmingham has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in Europe, and it is essential that there is a big pool of talent from which we can draw to grow the business.”
Fouzan Ali, Uber General Manager for Birmingham, said:
“Birmingham was the obvious choice to be one of the first regional cities to launch the Uber platform. Greater Birmingham is fast emerging as a young, fashionable place to live, with a record number of thirtysomethings flocking to the city, and this trend was a major contribution to the unprecedented demand seen for Uber in the city before we launched. We’re making Greater Birmingham more accessible for the record number of young professionals based in the region, and we’ve already seen phenomenal growth in the four months we’ve been running.”