Foreign investment has soared by more than a third in the West Midlands in the past year – outpacing the UK average three-fold.
The region recorded a 36 per cent increase in foreign investment projects, to 104, in 2012-13 – up from 76 the year before, new figures showed.
Meanwhile, the UK saw 1,559 investment projects secured, 11 per cent up, retaining its position as the leading European destination for foreign direct investment.
In the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) area, there was an 88 per cent year-on-year rise with 49 projects creating more than 2,000 new jobs.
Neil Rami, chief executive of Marketing Birmingham, said: “While foreign investment into Europe fell by more than 40 per cent last year, Greater Birmingham has bucked the trend with job and project numbers rising significantly. Our strategy to be focused on promoting the area’s offer to investors in the sectors and international markets where we have existing and growing strengths, is clearly delivering.”
The West Midlands’ success is highlighted by comparison with the East Midlands. In 2009 and 2010 the East Midlands out-performed its western neighbour, but last year it delivered less than half of the number of projects, at 49.
The UK saw a total of 1,559 investment projects secured – 11 per cent more projects than the number recorded during the previous year.
These projects are estimated to have brought with them 170,000 jobs – 51 per cent up on the previous year. Of these, nearly 60,000 were new jobs and 110,000 existing jobs were safeguarded.
Wales and Northern Ireland in particular recorded significant increases in investment projects – up 191 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.
In Greater Birmingham, foreign investors were drawn to advanced engineering with 20 new investment projects in this area.
GBSLEP chair Andy Street said: “The figures show that, not only is there is a global appetite for what Greater Birmingham has to offer, but that our message is getting across. Investors are understanding our potential and being supported to realise its benefits on their bottom line.”
Among the foreign companies to invest in the city last year was Swiss IT company Linalis, which moved to Victoria Square last April.
Managing director Steve Adams said that, after research, the city emerged as the best fit.
He said: “I was based in Switzerland for five years and it was a personal quest to open a branch in the UK.
“We looked around different locations and Birmingham sprung up, and there is a lot going for the area.
“We are a small company and a lot of our competition is focused on the London area, so there is a lot of ripe fruit in this area to work with.
“You are only an hour-and-a-half from London and Manchester.”