33,682 jobs created or maintained by foreign investment in France in 2015: France, first destination for British investments in Europe

Alice Faure - 24/03/16

The 2015 Annual Report: Foreign investment in France. The international development of the French economy, released on Tuesday 22 March 2016, analyses foreign investment decisions in France and their contribution to the French economy. In 2015, 962 investment decisions created or maintained 33,682 jobs, the best figure in the last five years. With an average of 19 decisions made every week, 2015 saw a 27% increase in jobs generated by foreign investment, up from 26,535 in 2014.

The UK has actively contributed to these results with 81 new investment decisions leading to the creation or maintenance of 2,833 jobs in France. 20% of these investments are in the business and retail sector, with 15% in business services and 11% in ICT.

Foreign companies invested primarily in production/manufacturing operations, which accounted for 30% of all foreign investments in France, generating 16,168 jobs (up from 11,601 in 2014), or 48% of all jobs created or maintained. Another key development was the increase in headquarters, as the number of new global or European headquarters rose sharply from 16 in 2014 to 27 in 2015. German firm Siemens decided in 2015 to make Toulouse (in the Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region) the global headquarters for all operations relating to its ‘Val’ range of turnkey automated metro solutions, while Canadian horticulture and agriculture specialist Premier Tech decided to expand its European headquarters in the Pays de la Loire region, creating a new automated production line and global R&D centre.

The number of R&D, engineering and design projects (87) remained high, amounting to 9% of all foreign investment decisions in 2015. Foreign-owned subsidiaries in France were responsible for 28% of all business enterprise R&D expenditure nationwide, spending €8.6 billion.

Regarding British investments, they are characterised by the arrival of new companies on the territory, like the coach service provider, Stagecoach, took advantage of the new regulation, quickly deploying a network of agencies in Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, and Nantes, to provide full service solutions for their customers.

British companies already established in France also shown an increasing confidence in the French economy driving investments in their existing sites. It is particularly the case for the aeronautical sector where Gardner Aerospace realised significant investments on its manufacturing sites in Midi Pyrenees (+30 jobs) to respond to increasing demand in France.