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Finance Foreign investment is up


The West Midlands attracted 92 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2015, the largest number recorded in a decade, according to a major new survey. The figure represented an increase of 46 per cent


on 2014, when the region attracted 63 projects. According to the EY 2015 ‘UK Attractiveness


Survey’, this represents the largest market share of UK projects recorded by the West Midlands at 8.6 per cent. The average market share for the West Midlands during the last decade was 6.9 per cent.


‘I’m confident that the region will continue to attract FDI and build the profile of the West Midlands’


The survey says that since 2013, the performance of the West Midlands has seen a large improvement, with total project numbers up more than 95 per cent between 2013 and 2015, led by investment into Birmingham which is the fourth most successful UK city (outside London) for attracting FDI. In the last five years, Birmingham has


recorded year-on-year increases in the number of projects secured, from just seven projects in 2011 to 24 projects in 2015. This represents a 243 per cent increase over the period.


At the same time, northern rival Manchester started


from a base of 12 projects and in 2015 recorded 54 projects – a 350 per cent increase and the UK’s top city for FDI in 2015 (outside London). The West Midlands contributed 71 per cent of the


projects secured by the Midlands Engine area in 2015 and is the driving force of the two regions (East and West Midlands) for FDI performance. Sara Fowler (pictured), senior partner at EY in the Midlands: “It’s been another exceptional year for the West Midlands with record inward investment in 2015, bringing more jobs, and contributing to the strong performance of the Midlands Engine. “With major infrastructure schemes such as HS2 on


the horizon, I’m confident that the region will continue to attract FDI and build the profile of the West Midlands as a global investment hotspot.” The EY survey shows that the West Midlands


remains the top UK region for attracting manufacturing FDI, with 61 projects in 2015, up 28 per cent on 2014. The manufacturing sector created 5,395


jobs in 2015 – more than 75 per cent of the total jobs in the West Midlands (7,134). Stephanie Wall, Chamber senior


policy & patron adviser, said: “We are naturally delighted that the West Midlands had a record year of inward investment performance. It is also great to see Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry in the top ten cities for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”


The Highfield, in Edgbaston NatWest funding


is peachy keen The Peach Pub Company, which runs the Highfield in Edgbaston, among 17 pubs in the Midlands, Oxfordshire and Home Counties, has secured £9.5m from NatWest in refinance and acquisition facilities. Peach is an independent gastro


pub group and employs around 500 people, and was launched 15 years ago with the Rose and Crown in Warwick. Peach finance director Joe


Garthwaite said: “The experienced team at NatWest worked very hard to understand our company so they could tailor their support to suit our business and its needs really well. “We are very selective about


which locations we acquire as part of our expansion and the revolving credit facility will allow us to move quickly when our dream locations become available.”


Sector Focus


July/August 2016 CHAMBERLINK 47


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