The number of greenfield FDI projects into Europe in 2018 declined by 2% while capital investment increased 30% to $216.2bn, according to a report from fDi Intelligence. 

Capital investment into western Europe increased by 27% in 2018 to $130.8bn, The fDi Report 2019 revealed. Project numbers declined by 6% to 4385. FDI into emerging Europe increased by 35%, with 1673 projects announced.


The UK was the top destination for FDI in Europe with a total of 1278 projects in 2018, gaining an overall market share of 21% and a 19% increase on the number of projects in 2017. Capital investment also increased to $35bn but this amount is still significantly lower than the $51.3bn in capital investment recorded in 2015, before the vote to leave the EU. In 2015, the average size of an FDI project in the UK was $44.9m, but this has decreased to $27.4m in 2018.

The number of greenfield FDI projects into Ireland grew 8% in 2018, alongside a 32% increase in capital investment to $10.5bn. 

Elsewhere in western Europe, FDI into Spain increased 39% by number of projects to 551, reflecting a 52% increase in capital investment. Spain increased its market share of FDI projects from 6% in 2017 to 9% in 2018.

Meanwhile, Finland witnessed a 6% increase in project numbers to 132, resulting in an equal level of capital investment as in 2017. Lithuania welcomed 80 projects in 2018, an increase by 54%, from $1.2bn in 2017 to $1.9bn in 2018. Estonia strengthened its standing as a destination market, seeing a 501% increase in capital investment from $147m in 2017 to $886m in 2018. This was aided by Netherlands-based renewable energy company CEG and Stork, a Fluor company, establishing a partnership to set up a $419m biocoal production facility in Estonia.

A star performer in recent years, Poland experienced a drop of 6% in project numbers in 2018 but remains ahead of the emerging Europe FDI league tables and sits at number five Europe-wide for projects, behind only the UK, France, Germany and Spain.  

Germany remained the largest outbound investor from Europe, generating 1348 projects valued at $74.2bn. Among the sizeable outward investments from Germany, car manufacturer BMW plans to invest $1.1bn to build a new factory close to Debrecen, Hungary. The facility will be capable of producing 150,000 cars per year, and is to serve the European market.

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