2021, a record year for British investment in France

London, 15 March 2022

The 2021 Annual Report of International Investments in France, published today, reaffirms the confidence of foreign – notably British – investors in France, and indicates a clear trend for UK investment across the Channel:

• France was the top European destination for British investment in 2021

• Globally, the UK was the 3rd biggest investor in France (behind the US and Germany)

• The number of UK investments in France went up by 25%

• Almost 1 in 10 jobs (4,202) created or maintained by foreign investment in France in 2021 were thanks to UK investment.

• The UK was #2 for investment projects in the finance and insurance sector

• UK investors choose France for hospitality and tourism, with 55% of all jobs created or maintained in this sector

UK investors choose France

The British publicly-traded, Fintech-focused VC Augmentum made its 1st investment in France last year (Espor, €20m) and opened an office in the Paris region to create 5 highly skilled roles.

EasyHotel, the hotel chain created in 2004, continues to accelerate its growth in Europe. Following the opening of France’s 1st easyHotel in Nice in 2019, a 2nd hotel close to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport opened its doors to guests in January 2022. This project created more than 10 full-time roles (excluding indirect job creation). 2 hotels are already under construction in Aubervilliers (Paris region) and in Marseille, with others set to follow. EasyHotel also recently set up a regional hub in Paris which has created 4 more jobs locally.

French economic attractiveness at an all-time high

• France remains the top European destination for foreign investment since 2019

• A record-breaking year: 1,607 investment decisions were identified in 2021, enabling 45,000+ jobs to be created or maintained (up 30% on 2020)

• 31 decisions to invest in France were made every week on average

Around 60 countries chose to invest in France in 2021, with the year being marked by a significant strengthening of France’s attractiveness in the eyes of European investors, who accounted for two-thirds of projects. German investors were at the fore, with nearly 300 projects recorded, followed by the US (247). The USA’s investments maintained the lead for job generation (10,118 jobs compared with 8,063 for Germany). The UK completed the podium with 151 projects identified representing 4,202 jobs.

Most were first-time investments in France, with 51% attributed to business creation, a sign of investor confidence in France’s business environment and economic prospects. Expansions accounted for 44% of projects and nearly half of jobs, mostly in production/manufacturing facilities.. These expansions reflect renewed confidence from foreign businesses that have already had a positive investment experience in France.

Reindustrialization: the numbers speak for themselves

France’s reindustrialization is a reality. A record 460 production/manufacturing projects of foreign origin were identified in France in 2021. This is an increase of 49%, with these investments creating or maintaining more than 15,000 jobs in the country. Production/manufacturing projects accounted for 29% of foreign investments in France and 34% of related jobs. 83% of these decisions relating to site expansions.

Investments everywhere, from Caen to Cannes

Overseas investment projects benefited every region of France: foreign businesses operate and create jobs in all 13 regions. France’s economic attractiveness isn’t limited to large cities, but also in smaller urban areas, with 43% of investments in 2021 located in towns with fewer than 200,000 inhabitants.

Well-deserved results

Team France Invest has accelerated foreign investments. In 2021, the partnership between Business France and France’s Regional Economic Development Agencies resulted in the distribution of more than 1,900 projects to French regions, the awarding of more than 1,200 regional offers of establishment to foreign investors and the joint organization of more than 110 operations to promote France’s regions abroad.

“These very encouraging results are the fruit of collective work carried out by diplomatic networks, Business France and our partners, and by an exemplary national support policy. France’s attractiveness now clearly goes beyond its traditionally recognized structural key strengths. France is the leading destination in Europe for healthcare investment and it is the leading industrial sector for foreign investors in France” said Christophe Lecourtier, CEO of Business France.

Pascal Cagni, Chairman of Business France, Ambassador for International Investment, emphasized the role of in-country agents: “The permanent contact with investors, thanks to our teams located in countries around the world, has enabled Business France and its partners across France’s regions to support 59% of all investment projects”.

Attractive policies attract business

Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, attributed another year of successful inward investment to widespread business reforms: “We’ve undertaken ambitious reforms under the Government’s 2017 attractiveness strategy which led us to become the most attractive country in Europe in 2019, a position we have maintained ever since.”

“More businesses setting up in France means more ‘made in France’, and more exports to come, which are key to relocations and our strategic autonomy. Our attractiveness automatically enables us to regain ground in exports, a decisive component of the recovery of our trade balance, which also involves the reindustrialization and relocation of value chains,” said Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Published on 15/03/2022

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