West Midlands top destination outside South East for foreign investment

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor
X The Business Desk

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More foreign businesses invested in the West Midlands in 2016/17 than anywhere outside London and the South East, according to new figures.

In total, the region received 151 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, underlining comments from new Mayor Andy Street that the West Midlands has strong appeal to overseas investors.

Figures from the Department for International Trade also show 6,570 new jobs were created in the West Midlands over this period – more new jobs than any other UK area outside London.

Major investors into the West Midlands in 2016/17 include US automotive firm Tenneco, based in Tyseley, which gained 75,000 sq ft of warehouse space for the distribution of suspension parts and emission control components to the automotive sector.

French-owned, customer care provider Sitel generated 400 new jobs last summer when it expanded in Coventry, while Swedish engineering firm Tentec moved to a £10m new home on the i54 site in Wolverhampton.

Mr Street said: “The West Midlands has once again demonstrated the appeal the region has to overseas investors.

“Inward investment is incredibly important to our economy and as key schemes like UK Central and our Enterprise Zones come to fruition ahead of the arrival of HS2, the role of overseas investment will grow.

“It is vital that we continue to press the case for the region and ensure the West Midlands is seen as the number one destination for foreign investment.”

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company, added: “The pace and scale of foreign investment pouring into the West Midlands has rapidly gained momentum in recent years, creating a more diversified, robust economy.

“This consistently strong performance in FDI attraction is translated into employment opportunities, with the latest figures showing the region created more new jobs off the back of foreign investment, than any other UK region.”

He said the region had a very targeted strategy to accelerate economic growth.

“From the development of clusters across high-growth sectors such as technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, to large scale initiatives capitalising on major schemes such as HS2 – the region is attracting the world’s heavyweights as they look for a long-term future and world-class talent,” he added.

Overall, the UK is the number one destination for inward investment in Europe, with the technology, renewable energy, life sciences and creative industries all seeing an increase in the number of projects.