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Davos boost for Britain

UK continues to lure investment from Europe’s CEOs

City of London

Survey points to further investment (pic: Terry Murden)

Britain will remain one of the most attractive countries for investment from Europe in spite of Brexit, according to new research.

CEOs in Europe’s biggest economies regard the UK as one of the most important territories for their organisation’s future growth – more so today than in recent years.

Evidence of Britain’s continuing attractiveness to investors emerged in PwC’s 23rd annual CEO Survey published at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

For Germany, France and Italy’s CEOs, the UK is as attractive now as it was in 2015, with a notable uptick since last year. In Germany, the percentage of CEOs who view the UK as one of their top three growth targets has more than doubled since last year (from 6% to 13%) to match the level in 2015. 

The UK has also become a more popular growth target among France’s CEOs, with 23% in favour, the highest level since 2015 (24%), and markedly up on the interim years (14% being highest recording in 2016). In Italy, the percentage of CEOs who selected the UK is also up on last year, rising from 11% to 14%. In 2015 the figure was 12%. 

Beyond Europe, the UK has become more attractive to CEOs in the US (up 4 percentage points on last year to 20%), Australia (up 6 percentage points to 19%) and Japan (up 2.5 percentage points  to 11.5% – the highest level recorded).

By contrast, the UK has become marginally less important to CEOs in China, India and Canada – each down by 2.5 percentage points.

Britain’s popularity among European investors contrasts with warnings from the SNP and other anti-Brexiteers who have warned of a loss of investment and jobs.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC UK, said: “The findings provide timely perspective on the UK’s standing as a place to invest and do business.

“Viewed against the turbulent global backdrop, the UK is a beacon of relative stability. You can’t replicate natural advantages like our timezone and location between the US, Asia and the rest of Europe, but more than that the UK is a fair and trusted place to do business.

“Developing infrastructure and skills will enhance the UK’s position, and ensure its increased popularity among CEOs translates to more inbound business and investment. Likewise, maintaining an open economy and our deep connections with trading nations will be crucial.”

However, interest in the UK comes at a time of uncertainty for CEOs worldwide; for the first time more than half of respondents (53%) believe the rate of global GDP growth will decline, with trade conflicts among their top concerns. 

See also:

More than 1,000 EU firms plan first office in UK

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