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France's 2019 FDI Report: a record year for UK & foreign investment in France

03 June 2020
by businessfrance -- last modified 03 June 2020

The 2019 Report of international investments in France, published today, reaffirms the confidence of foreign and British investors for France.


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  • UK investment projects in France increase by 46% and job creation by 140 %
  • The United Kingdom was the 3rd leading investor in France in 2019 and the 2nd largest creator of jobs, accounting for 12% of investment projects and 15% of jobs created or maintained.
  • France takes number 1 spot for FDIs in Europe for the first time according to the 2019 EY attractiveness Barometer.

The 2019 Report of international investments in France, published today, reaffirms the confidence of foreign and British investors for France.

"France was the most attractive country in Europe for foreign investors in 2019. Our economic policy is showing results; now we should continue in this direction. These foreign investments are a chance for employment, our economy and our regions. We have all the advantages to emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis," said Bruno Le Maire, the Minister for the Economy and Finance.

UK Investment in France

As the 3rd largest investor in France, after the US and Germany, the UK stands out with the most significant increase in the top 10 investor countries in France. 173 British investment decisions in France were recorded in 2019, creating or maintaining 5,927 jobs, 15% of the nationwide total from foreign investment. British companies were the leading contributors to increased investment projects (+46%) and jobs generated (+140%) in 2019.

In 2019, France was the leading European recipient of British job creation investment, attracting 24% of British projects in Europe, ahead of Germany (17%) and Spain (10%).

British investments in 2019 primarily involved opening and expanding retail outlets (40% of projects; 43% of jobs). Decision-making centres, mostly first-time investments, accounted for 21% of British investment decisions and 11% of jobs created.

The year was also marked by takeovers of ailing production/manufacturing sites by British investors, enabling jobs to be maintained across the country. British investments in production/manufacturing were responsible for 28% of all jobs recorded.

Sector-wise, the wholesale/retail sector made up 33% of British investment projects and 28% of jobs, while software/IT services contributed 11% of projects and 11% of jobs. British investments also represented a quarter of all projects in the financial services/banking/insurance sectors and 19% of jobs

Nearly two-thirds of British investments were made in 4 regions: Ile-de-France (Paris region) (29%), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (12%), Occitanie (11%) and Nouvelle-Aquitaine (10%).

More than 1,800 British companies operate in France, where they employ 185,000 people.

Foreign Investment in France

Globally, France attracted a total of 1,468 new foreign investment decisions in 2019, an increase of 11% compared to 2018 (1,323 decisions).

Jobs created or maintained in France by investments from foreign businesses also jumped 30%, creating 39,542 jobs in 2019. On average, 28 investment decisions were recorded every week in France last year.

A large majority of the investment projects identified in 2019 are already underway, or have already been completed, which already serves as a solid foundation for France's FDI balance sheet.

French industry remained the main beneficiary of foreign investments (new sites and expansions), with 26% of all investments and 380 projects in 2019, up 19% from 2018. Production/manufacturing activities remain the leading contributors to international investment in terms of jobs, with 13,814 positions (including 10,099 jobs created and 3,715 jobs maintained, up 22% compared to 2018). This equates to 35% of total employment in the sector. Aerospace and railway equipment manufacturers (21%) and the automotive industry (14%) took the lion's share of investment.

R&D and engineering activities accounted for 22% of international investments, with 157 investment decisions, compared with 129 projects in 2018 (up 22%). Jobs associated with the creation and expansion of R&D centres rose by 35% in 2019, with 3,775 jobs, compared with 2,793 jobs in 2018.

For more information, please contact Penny Atkinson | penelope.atkinson@businessfrance.fr | 020 8132 4589

Case studies: recent cross-channel investments

ARM, UNITED KINGDOM

The leading British technology group ARM has strengthened its presence at its R&D site within the Sophia Antipolis technology park near Nice (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region). The group has hired 200 additional highly-qualified employees over 3 years and developed a new-generation 6,000 sq. m. campus.

GFG ALLIANCE, UNITED KINGDOM

Since entering the French market in 2018, upon purchasing the largest aluminium electrolysis plant in Europe, the GFG Alliance group has established itself as a major industrial player in France. Following successive acquisitions, GFG now employs more than 2,000 people in France across 7 industrial sites. Among its investments in 2019, GFG took over Durisotti, the country's 2nd largest industrial coachbuilder, including its 3 sites spread across France. The group also acquired 2 vehicle-component suppliers in Poitou (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), saving 600 jobs.

COMPUTACENTER, UNITED KINGDOM

The British group Computacenter, leader in infrastructure services and solutions, strengthened its presence in Occitanie in 2019 with the opening of a new service centre in Perpignan, in addition to its existing Montpellier site.

PARTNERS CAPITAL, UNITED KINGDOM

This British management company, which handles more than US$23 billion of assets, opened a European office in Paris in 2019 in anticipation of Brexit and to further develop its operations in Europe. The Paris office serves clients based in continental Europe and handles funds of more than €4 billion.

Business France is the French national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for facilitating the development of French companies in foreign markets, as well as promoting international investments in France.

Business France
Business France

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Business France is the French national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for facilitating the development of French companies in foreign markets, as well as promoting international investments in France.

Business France also promotes the creativity and innovation of French companies, demonstrating how French talent extends beyond borders and throughout the world.

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