Catalonia is among the top European regions for foreign investment attraction. According to fDi Markets, the most comprehensive online database of crossborder greenfield investments, in 2015 Barcelona was the second city in Europe in terms of the volume of foreign investment attracted (after the Greater London area) and the 6th city in Europe to attract the highest number of FDI projects.
Additionally, Catalonia was the 4th region in Europe and the 1st region in continental western Europe in terms of attracting foreign investment.
According to data published by the State’s Ministry of Economy and Competiveness, foreign investment in Catalonia grew 57.8% in 2015, reaching a total of 4,783 million euros, the second highest figure on record, only surpassed by the 2010 figures. Catalonia concentrates 22% of all investments in Spain.
Catalan exports grew by 6.1%, generating a record breaking 63.8 billion euros for the economy. This increase is largely attributed to 3% rise in the number of regular exporting businesses in Catalonia (16.422 companies) and represents 34.4% of the Spanish state’s total. Catalan exports represented 25.5% of all of Spanish exports for 2015.
Foreign investments, mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances in Catalonia announced in 2015
Based on the database of investments drawn up by ACCIÓ’s Strategy and Competitive Intelligence Unit – which includes investments announced in the press, and also investments managed and announced by Catalonia Trade & Investment and the notifications from the FDI Markets database, the European Investment Monitor and Zephyr – ACCIÓ produces an annual list of foreign investment projects in Catalonia. Although it is not an exhaustive list, it does include foreign investments, mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances announced during the year in Catalonia.
For 2015, this list included 168 investments, made up of projects managed by Catalonia Trade & Investment and linked to activity by the Directorate General for Industry, as well as projects from foreign companies with headquarters outside Catalonia and which register their investments in other autonomous communities, but which take place within Catalonia. In 2014, 144 had been announced, with 150 in 2013.
Types, sectors, location
In terms of investment types, there are 43 expansion projects (investment in the same product in the same location, by a company already established in Catalonia), 39 acquisitions by companies already located in Catalonia, 37 business projects without prior presence in Catalonia (greenfields) and 32 new investments (investments in new product from a company already established in Catalonia, regardless of whether they are made in the same location or in a new one). The greenfield investments are especially noteworthy, representing 22% of all projects. It is important to attract this type of investment because they are from companies with no prior presence in Catalonia, which means this is the first step towards future growth and expansion.
In terms of sector, ICT projects (including Software and eCommerce) clearly stand out (33), followed by automotive projects (17), those from pharmaceutical and biotech companies (16), logistics projects (12), the service sector projects (12) and investments in food & drink (11). In general, there is wide diversification of investment projects. Catalonia does not concentrate all the foreign investment in a few areas, but virtually all sectors receive foreign investment, the industrial sector in particular.
Foreign investment projects in terms of location in Catalonia. Barcelonès (78 projects), Vallès Occidental (27 projects) and Baix Llobregat (17 projects) together represent 72% of the total. Other counties with foreign investment projects announced for 2015 are the Vallès Oriental (8), Gironès (6), Tarragonès (4), Alt Camp (4), Bages (4), Maresme (3) and the rest of the counties (14).
- Ministry of Business and Competitiveness: Foreign investment registered in 2015, the second highest figure on record.
According to data published by the Spanish Government, foreign investment in Catalonia grew 57.8% in 2015, reaching a total of 4,783 million euros, the second highest figure on record, only surpassed by the 2010 figures. Catalonia concentrates 22% of all foreign investments in Spain.
- Financial Times’ FDI Markets: Catalonia, the fourth region in all Europe for foreign investment attraction in 2015.
The Financial Times’ FDI Markets is the most comprehensive online database of crossborder greenfield investments available. This source of information ranks Catalonia the 4th region in all Europe for foreign investment attraction in 2015. Analysis based on FDI Markets data state that Catalonia attracted 5,224 million euros in 2015, the highest figure on record, establishing itself as the top continental western European region in terms of foreign investment attraction. With this investment volume, Catalonia climbs from the 16th position it held in 2014 to this 4th place in 2015. In fact, in 2015 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.
Catalonia Trade & Investment, activity in 2015: 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. 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, in other words from multinationals with no 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.
- Special mention must be made of the investments of multinationals in the ICT area (25.8%), a sector generating wealth and qualified jobs and with a high growth potential, clearly reflecting the driving force of Mobile World Capital for the Catalan economy. Also relevant are the investments in automation (15%), services (8%) as well as in food and drink, electronics, biotechnology and chemicals (5.3% respectively) and metallurgy and textile (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%)
- 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%).