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Glasgow tops in Europe for foreign direct investment

written by Bella Palmer

Scotland’s largest city has been ranked at the top in Europe for FDI, says a new report

Glasgow has been ranked as the top large city in Europe for foreign direct investment (FDI), according to a new report.

Scotland’s largest city also retained its seventh position as best large city overall and was fourth for business friendliness in the European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/21 report published every two years by the foreign direct investment publication, fDi Intelligence.

The report saw Glasgow move up from second in the 2018 rankings. It also climbed the rankings for connectivity to seventh position.

Glasgow’s performance – competing with over 300 cities – was boosted last year by US financial services titan JPMorgan Chase’s announcement that it is building a new multi-million-pound base for its technology operations in Glasgow.

The bank’s new centre, in a 13-storey building in Argyle Street in the city’s International Financial Services District (IFSD), will house about 2,000 technology specialists currently spread between two other locations in the city.

Norwegian renewable energy firm Statkraft’s acquisition of Airvolution Clean Energy in a £11.77 million investment which saw it double the size of its office in the city, creating 22 new jobs.

Sandman Hotel Group, a subsidiary of Canada-based Northland Properties, also unveiled plans to invest £47.9m in the city in its new 179-bedroom Sandman Signature hotel in West George Street.

Glasgow City Council’s leader, Councillor Susan Aitken, described the city’s top ranking as a “great achievement”. She said: “An environment that is friendly to, and supportive of, business investment has been created, attracting a number of major new developments including Barclays in Tradeston and JPMorgan Chase on Argyle Street.

These investments bring thousands of jobs and increased economic activity to Glasgow, in turn attracting further investment that can benefit the whole of the city, she said.

Other FDI investments include US nanosatellite specialist Spire Global’s £19.54m expansion to create 260 new jobs in the space technology sector with a move to new premises at the city’s SkyPark and £24.43m by whisky company Chivas Bros, a subsidiary of France-based Pernod Ricard, as it relocates from Paisley to a new head office in Glasgow’s Blythswood Square.

The European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/21 report published by fDi Intelligence chimes with recent figures from Scottish Development International which said that 30 per cent of the 10,074 jobs to be created or safeguarded through planned inward investment in Scotland unveiled in the year to last March are “high-value” roles.

While these figures included investment in Scotland from other parts of the UK as well as from overseas, they paint a positive outlook, the three main sectors for inward investment in the year to March 2019 being financial and business services, technology and advanced engineering, and energy, oil and gas.

SDI managing director Charlie Smith said, despite growing competition from other countries and the uncertain geopolitical climate we find ourselves in, Scotland continues to punch above its weight when it comes to attracting FDI.


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