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West Midlands falls behind in business merger deals

A total of 24 foreign investment deals, worth a combined £596 million, were completed in the first three quarters of the year in the West Midlands, according to new figures from Experian.

The West Midlands has fallen behind rival UK regions in terms of merger and acquisition investment from abroad, according to new data.

A total of 24 foreign investment deals, worth a combined £596 million, were completed in the first three quarters of the year in the West Midlands, according to new figures from Experian.

That compares to 38 deals worth a combined £983 million in the North West over the same period, and 26 investments amounting to more than £1 billion in Scotland.

Inward investment body Marketing Birmingham said that while the region fared worse in terms of merger and acquisition activity, overall spending in the region compared well.

Investment director Wouter Schuitemaker said: “Birmingham continues to be an increasingly popular destination for inward investment. While Experian’s data covers mergers and acquisitions involving overseas companies, the picture is very different when new investments and expansions are included.

“Birmingham generated more jobs from new foreign investments than any UK city outside London in the past decade, and indeed over this period also attracted more capital investment than its peers outside the capital.”

Inward investment rose by 52 per cent in Birmingham last year, creating more than 2,200 jobs, and Mr Schuitemaker said he expects to build on this success this year.

However, the Experian data shows that across the board foreign-driven M&A activity is down this year.

Overall overseas investment in the first three quarters of 2013 is slightly down on the same period last year, with a total of 407 deals compared to 451.

There was, however, a significant uplift in the third quarter with 157 deals, 50 more than the second quarter, driven largely by investment from the US.

The analysis involving foreign investors showed as ever London and the South East led the way, with 193 deals totalling £31.9 billion.

Across the UK, US firms were involved in 152 of the 407 deals this year, followed by France with 28 deals and Germany closely behind with 27 deals. Manufacturing was by far the biggest sector for inward investment, with over 141 manufacturing deals taking place in the UK involving overseas firms.

Max Firth, UK managing director for Experian’s Business Information Services division, said: “The fact that British firms are increasingly attracting investment from foreign investors reveals the quality of businesses in this country. It’s also encouraging to see the manufacturing sector being a focus for so much of this attention after a tough few years.

“For firms seeking international investment, keeping abreast of the overseas deals market within the region would be useful. Overseas investors may also take a credit report into consideration when selecting a UK company to trade with so maintaining a healthy report could strengthen a firm’s position within an international network.”

The US was the largest investor in Birmingham last year – accounting for 27 per cent of companies locating in the city in the last 12 months, followed by Australia and India.

 

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