Foreign investors pick South Yorkshire

Published 6th June 2013 at 7:28am

South Yorkshire has beaten West Yorkshire as one of England’s most attractive areas for foreign investment according to a market leading report by Ernst & Young.

The 2013 European attractiveness survey highlighted that South Yorkshire secured nine Foreign Direct Investment projects (FDI’s) against the six secured in West Yorkshire during 2012, with North Yorkshire securing four FDI’s and two going to Humberside.

Manufacturing companies provided the largest share of Yorkshire’s overall investment projects at ten, with eight finance and business service companies putting money into the region, two investments for retail and hospitality and one transport and communications project.

Ellen Cutler, Director of Inward Investment for Sheffield City Region said: “This is fatanstic news as it highlights the compelling offer to overseas investors this region has, particularly in an area where we have a centre of excellence – advanced manufacturing.

“I am confident this trend will continue.”

Tim Bottrill, partner at the Sheffield office of Knight Frank, said: “The Ernst & Young European attractiveness survey offers a great insight into what makes South Yorkshire such an appealing destination for foreign investment.

“Principally, what this part of Yorkshire offers is exactly the kind of commercial infrastructure which is attractive to large scale investment and it is no surprise that manufacturing is cited as Yorkshire’s largest sector for FDI initiatives.

“One of our most recent lettings at Thorncliffe Distribution Centre for example is to Zapp GB Ltd, a global metals stockist, which required a showroom scale facility. The company chose South Yorkshire as the best location, with the unit offering close proximity to key suppliers and manufacturers of niche products.”

The survey also showed that manufacturing was the largest driver of jobs growth Europe wide and accounts for more than 25 per cent of all investment projects across Europe.

Tim added: “South Yorkshire is a world leader in the sphere of advanced manufacture with organisations such as the AMRC and NAMRC, supported by established businesses like Sheffield Forgemasters, and Chesterfield Special Cylinders – which both lead the way in terms of technology dependent manufacture. Other companies such as B. Braun Medical Ltd choose to have their UK headquarters here – it is a very friendly place for foreign businesses to commit to.”

Investment areas outlined within the report show that the energy sector is expected to see 28 per cent growth in 2013.

Professor Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters International, said: “It is no surprise that Yorkshire and South Yorkshire in particular are witnessing foreign investment. The drive to deliver products, which are of the highest technology, to a global market cannot be cost-based. That is for bulk commodity manufacture and there is little place for that within the UK any longer.

“The emerging economies of the BRICs countries are looking to the West to see where we are moving in terms of product and sector development. Sheffield Forgemasters for example continues to work closely with India’s state-owned power generation company, BHEL, in the transfer of technology to help them move onto the next level of manufacture.”

The survey also highlighted that eighty-four per cent of investors already present in Europe claimed that they would still be manufacturing in Europe in ten years’ time, while companies in northern Europe were especially positive about their long-term manufacturing presence (91 per cent).

US companies remain the biggest source of FDI in Europe, providing 27.5 per cent of inward investment projects in 2012.

Together, FDI projects from European countries and the US accounted for more than 80 per cent of FDI flows into the region. The share of FDI projects from Brazil, India and China remained relatively low, at just 5.6 per cent.

The survey indicates that 21 FDI projects for Yorkshire created 380 jobs for the region in 2012.

Improvements in 2012 FDI performance against 2011 were only reported in Yorkshire, the North East, North West and the West Midlands as English regions. Five others of London, South East, East of England, East Midlands and the South West received reduced investment over the same period.

For more information on the survey, go to http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Issues/Business-environment/2013-European-attractiveness-survey—Europe-s-future-attractiveness