Brexit isn’t diminishing the UK’s commitment to investing in Spain

The United Kingdom is the European country that invests the most in Spain and the second in the world only behind the United States. In the case of Andalucía, British investment is the first ranked in terms of direct foreign investment, with 117.7 million euros in 2018. At a national level, Andalucía is in fourth place, a short distance behind Valencia (121 million) and Barcelona (159 million), although quite far behind Madrid (one billion). These are just some of the findings of the fourth Barometer on Climate and Outlook of British Investment in Spain, prepared by Analistas Financieros Internacionales (Afi) for the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain.

Among the main conclusions of the study, which was presented at the Andalusian Technology Park (PTA) in Malaga on Thursday, is that the volume of direct investment from the Britain has gone from being the sixth largest for Spain in 2015 to the second in 2018, with 3.1 billion euros, excluding entities holding foreign securities (ETVE). This is slightly lower than in 2017 (3.9 billion), although it is three times higher than the volume recorded in 2015.

“Every year, especially since the referendum on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, we have seen an increase in investment. This means that, despite Brexit, investment has continued to come and this is very important. Last year it was 3.17 billion, and this year, the figure for the first quarter indicates that it was 850 million. If the trend continues, then by the end of the year it would be 3.4 billion – another increase,” explained José Manuel Amor, an associate at Afi, author of the barometer.

For the head of Analistas Financieros Internacionales, the United Kingdom continues to be a very committed “post-Brexit” investor as “Spain is a country of opportunities for British companies”.

The United Kingdom represented more than 15 per cent of the total stock of direct foreign investment in the Spanish economy in 2017 (56.9 billion euros). This figure is 2.4 billion euros higher than in 2016. At national level, this investment has gone primarily into telecommunications (16.4 billion), tobacco (6.1 billion) and the manufacture of iron and steel products (4.9 billion).

As far as Andalucía is concerned, in 2018 British companies opted mainly for the agrifood and real estate sectors, though the almost 24 million euros spent since 2013 on research and development was also highlighted in the report.

Derek Langley, regional vicepresident of the British Chamber of Commerce in Andalucía, commented: “These figures show that, despite the vote to leave the EU in 2016, British investment in Spain goes beyond the geopolitical situation and the two countries maintain a solid and deeply-rooted bilateral relationship.”