The UK remains Europe’s primary destination for FDI projects, according to the UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Inward Investment Report 2014 to 2015. The report findings reflect a variety of independent sources, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UN Conference on Trade and Development.
“The UK received net FDI inflows of $72bn in 2014 – representing one-third of total EU inflows and making the UK the number one destination in Europe,” UKTI reported. Inward FDI stock is estimated to have passed $1520bn 2014. Preliminary OECD figures show the UK achieved a 50% net increase in FDI inflows. Global FDI flows, by comparison, fell by between 8% and 11%.
The country’s top sectors for FDI projects were reported as software and computer services, financial services, business and consumer services, and creative and media industries, comprising 742 projects altogether. The automotive, food and drink, and biotech and pharmaceuticals sectors also held about 100 projects each.
The UK is becoming increasingly attractive for advanced manufacturing and research and development (R&D) investment. FDI projects involving R&D saw a 10% increase since 2013. New foreign direct investments increased by 29% and expansions by 18%. UKTI also recorded 190 successful mergers and acquisitions completed in 2014/15.
“It is clear from these results that all regions of the UK benefit from foreign investment,” wrote Lord Francis Maude, UK trade and investment minister, in the report’s opening remarks. “We will look to investors to back our commitment to build a stronger and rebalanced economy focused on the creation of jobs and will target investors accordingly.”
“We are not complacent,” the minster added. “We need to continue working hard to make the UK the best place in the world for starting and growing business.” Results show that continuing on its current path, with international companies’ ongoing trust in the UK’s investment potential, the country’s economic outlook is positive.