FDI into Spain was down by 12% in the first nine months of 2012 when compared with the same period in 2011, according to  greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets. In this period, 161 FDI projects were recorded, representing total capital investment of $905m. In the first nine months of 2011, 182 FDI projects were recorded, representing total capital investment of $1.19bn.

While FDI into the Spanish capital of Madrid remained relatively unchanged during the period – with 43 projects recorded in 2012 compared to 44 in 2011 – FDI into Barcelona doubled from 29 projects in 2011 to 58 in 2012. Capital expenditure also reflected this increase, with total capital investment of $230.9m recorded in Barcelona between January and September 2012, an increase of 381% on the same period in 2011, when capital investment amounted to just $48m.

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Business services and software and IT were among the sectors that recorded the highest growth in Barcelona in the first three quarters of 2012. Projects in these sectors grew respectively by 64% and 33%, compared with the same period of 2011. Meanwhile, projects in consumer products and retail were among those recording the sharpest contraction. This might be due to the prolonged economic crisis in Spain weakening local demand.

Companies from the France, Germany, the UK and the US were among the top investors in Barcelona in 2012. The city also recorded investments from emerging markets, such as Turkey, Mexico and United Arab Emirates. Mexican law firm Arochi, Marroquin & Linder opened a representative office in Barcelona, while Turkey-based Ran Logistics and UAE-headquartered Emirates Airlines announced they would be opening representative offices in the city. Firms from developing countries did not invest in greenfield projects in Barcelona a year earlier. 

The biggest investor in this period was US-headquartered network equipment provider Cisco Systems. In March 2012 the company announced that it was establishing an innovation centre in ‘22@’, Barcelona’s high-tech cluster. The new Cisco operation will conduct research into smart circuits and is expected to employ about 1000 people.