North East of England ranks second in foreign investment

From left to right: Guy Currey, Director of Invest North East England, Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Robert Forsyth, Commercial Director at Metec UK

North East of England ranks second in foreign investment

The North East beats every other area of the UK, apart from London, in terms of creating new jobs from foreign investment relative to population size, according to new data analysis.

In the last financial year, the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area created nearly twice as many new overseas investment jobs per person compared with the UK average.

Inward investment chiefs have hailed the figures as a result of the public and private sector support available which makes the North East one of the UK’s premier investment locations.

Particular strengths lie in the digital, advanced manufacturing, energy sector, and financial and professional services.

This has helped the NECA area to secure 3,160 jobs from foreign direct investment in 2016-17 per one million working age people, compared with the UK average of 1,600 posts.

Exceptional skills availability, cost competitive locations and superb wrap around support infrastructure are attracting overseas investors such as Belgian-owned Smulders - due to create 300 new jobs in the energy sector in North Tyneside.

US customer services outsourcing giant Convergys has been another foreign investor in the past 12 months, creating 600 new posts at The Rocket in Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter.

Robert Forsyth, Metec UK Commercial Director, together with the owners and UK staff, has overseen a £1m investment by the firm’s Italian parent company into its South Shields plant.

The company, now employing 35 people in South Shields, is a world leader in manufacturing aluminium and zinc anodes – castings attached to structures in the oil and gas and offshore renewables industries. 

The Italian owner’s North East investment includes more than £500,000 of new machinery for its foundry and associated fabrication workshop, to produce anodes to various client specifications.

"The investment into the North East by Metec shows the strength, stability and skill set our region offers,” said Mr Forsyth.

“Our first year is forecast to almost double our parent company’s expectations on turnover as we strive to establish the UK site and strengthen the Metec UK production plant as well as the group’s global position.

“We are bidding for and hopeful of winning record size contracts which will further secure the short and long-term future of our company, providing new local jobs and supply chain opportunities for the foreseeable future."

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Thematic Lead for Economic Development and Regeneration of NECA , said:

“These figures clearly show that the North East is performing exceptionally well in attracting foreign investment, with only London securing more based on population size.

"We have the highly skilled, available workforce investors need as well as the cost competitive, quality accommodation which more and more firms across a wide range of sectors are choosing to locate to.