World news story

Italy is UK’s third largest European investor by number of projects

Italian investors contribute to increase in number of investment projects and jobs secured in the UK.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK Global Investment Destination

UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI) 2013/14 Inward Investment Annual Report shows the UK continues to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) with the highest ever number of projects and jobs secured. The report confirms that the UK remains the number 1 destination in Europe for FDI projects.

In the report Italy is ranked eighth globally and third in Europe in terms of number of investment projects in the UK. It created 70 projects securing 1,366 new jobs and safeguarding 2,441.

UK attractions for Italian companies

The UK’s business environment is a catalyst for many Italian high growth start-ups and R&D intensive companies. Italian companies choose the UK for their international expansion for many reasons including:

  • a stable and predictable policy framework
  • regulations that encourages innovation and enterprise
  • open and fair markets and access to skilled people
  • UK’s Research & Development (R&D) capabilities
  • government policies in support of innovation, such as R&D tax credits and the Patent Box

An analysis of sector trends of Italian investment shows an increase in the quality of investment projects supported by the UKTI Investment Team across different sectors. Advanced manufacturing and engineering are most relevant to Italy. Italy was the fourth source globally of FDI in these sectors.

Vic Annells, H. M. Consul General Milan and Director General for Trade and Investment in Italy, said:

Italy has shown once more the strengths of its advanced industries and manufacturing basis. In the context of extraordinary global results for the UK, Italy’s role stands out as the third European source of investment projects. Highly innovative companies have created high quality jobs and strengthened the ties between our two countries. Advanced engineering and energy, health-tech and ICT are the most important sectors, involving significant R&D capabilities and capital investment.

2013/14 UKTI Inward Investment Annual Report

The report was released by UKTI, the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy and also assists overseas companies in bringing their high-quality investment to the UK’s dynamic economy.

Data show that in the last financial year:

  • the UK has attracted the most inward investment projects since records began in the 1980s
  • the UK saw 1,773 investment projects secured – 14% more projects than the number recorded during the previous year
  • these projects are estimated to have brought with them 110,000 jobs, with nearly 66,000 new jobs created and 45,000 existing jobs safeguarded
  • during 2013/14 UKTI and partners were involved in the delivery of 1,462 projects or 82% of all inward investment projects recorded

Italian successes in the UK

Every year in January the British Consulate General and the UKTI Investment Team in Italy celebrate the success of the Italian companies and personalities that have chosen the UK for their business growth. The UK-Italy Business Awards, held in partnership with Borsa Italiana, is the annual event where both large companies and young dynamic start-ups helped by UKTI are celebrated.

In 2013 to 2014 awarded companies included names such as InvestIndustrial. This leading investment fund acquired 37.5% of Aston Martin for €190 million via a capital increase and is investing a further £500 million into the exclusive British sports car brand. The deal will enable Aston Martin to invest in new products and technological development up to 2018 to pursue opportunities in the vibrant UK automotive sector.

Zambon, a leading Italian family company which has been operating for 108 years in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, was also awarded. The company acquired British company Profile Pharma as a first step for the growth in the UK in different areas (respiratory problems, rare diseases, neurodegenerative diseases). The company has links with universities, excellence centres and British start-ups in an open innovation model which is Zambon’s distinctive approach to R&D.

Another important investor over the year was Seda, a global packaging leader. The group announced an investment of £18 million for the expansion and modernisation of its facility in Blackwood, Wales. The project will include the expansion of its existing facility with an additional unit and the installation of new machinery to respond to an increasing demand of the national and international market.

The guest of honour at the Awards ceremony was Michael Fallon, at the time Minister of State for Business and Energy and recently appointed Minister of Defence Fallon.

He said: > The UK received a major vote of confidence from foreign investors confirming that it remains a world leading business destination. UK Trade & Investment has the role of ensuring this relationship grows ever closer, establishing new cross-border ties between government, business, industry and academia to make sure that the UK remains the ‘destination of choice’ for high quality Italian FDI.

The excellent performance of the UK in attracting global FDI stock demonstrates once again the effectiveness of the government’s plans to deliver growth and economic recovery over the coming years.

UKTI Italy contacts

Inward Investment: Tiziana Marcuccio, Head of Inward Investment,

Press: Raffaella Previtera, Head of Communications Team

Published 25 July 2014