Leeds, United Kingdom (PressExposure) February 25, 2009 -- West Yorkshire has attracted record levels of foreign inward investment over the past 12 months according to figures released today.
Results released today by UKTI show the region attracted 124 projects during 2007/8, an average of more than two projects investing in the UK a week. Yorkshire Forward working with regional partners, delivered 57 of these investments â 32% of which were in West Yorkshire, an 18% increase on last year.
The regionâs growing reputation as a centre for Research and Development has also been reinforced with the attraction of 19 international research and collaborations.
Overall, West Yorkshire has been most attractive to European investors, who account for almost one third of the areaâs total, whilst chemicals and the financial services have proven the most popular sectors.
Indian owned ICICI Bank opened their first regional branch in Leeds earlier this year, opening links, further building links with the sub-continent and strengthening Leedsâ position as a centre for the financial services.
But despite the record numbers of overseas companies attracted to West Yorkshire, Yorkshire Forwardâs head of marketing and business development Theresa Lindsay argues that the agencyâs main focus in securing foreign investment is quality not just quantity â with a strong focus on knowledge driven, innovative companies.
"Attracting high quality investment is vital to our regional economy, and this year has seen a significant increase in investments from companies investing heavily in R&D and high tech products and services, creating the jobs and opportunities that will ensure we can meet the challenges of a globalised economy," says Lindsay.
"Over the last 12 months, a significant proportion of the investments in West Yorkshire have been by such companies."
She also argues that this strong performance is to be welcomed considering current concerns around global markets with less potential for UK investment and that these figures again demonstrate that the Yorkshire and Humber economy is well placed to weather any economic storms.
"Despite current concerns there is no shortage of interest in investment in West Yorkshire and we are attracting companies in the face of stiff global competition.
"Over forty percent of the regionâs largest companies are foreign owned, so winning increasing levels of expansion projects against stiff international competition, particularly in the current economic climate, is a real endorsement of the strength of our regional economy and our investor development programmer," said Lindsay.
Yorkshire Forward â¢ Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to make a positive difference by investing in jobs, improving towns and cities, and in supporting businesses throughout the region. â¢ Over the past year, Yorkshire Forward has created and safeguarded more than 27,000 new jobs; helped create and attract more than 1,100 new businesses, provided nearly 66,000 learning opportunities and attracted more than Â£333 million private sector finance - achieving or exceeding all of the targets it was set. â¢ Yorkshire Forwardâs investment across the region is maximised by attracting European Regional Development Funding from the Objective One and Two programmes.