Businesses in North West boosted by inward investment as figures for Q1 2013 hit five year high

news release

Businesses in North West boosted by inward investment as figures for Q1 2013 hit five year high

Firms urged to harness inbound and outbound investment opportunities to stimulate growth

Nottingham, Tuesday 11 June 2013 – Latest figures from Experian®, the global information services company, today revealed that overseas investment in firms in the North West has hit a five year high with 17 deals valued at £538million.  This followed a steady upward trend after hitting its lowest point in Q2 of 2009.

The findings were presented at a Manchester breakfast seminar where firms in the North West were urged to harness opportunities in order to grow.  The seminar was hosted by Experian and UK mid-market private equity firm, Dunedin, with support from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) Business Advice Service.

Experian’s analysis reveals that during January 2008 to March 2013, the top industries attracting overseas investment in the North West have been manufacturing, with 124 deals worth a total of £1.25bn, professional and business activities with 66 deals worth £1.46bn, Wholesale, Retail and Repair at 61 deals worth £734m and Computer Activities with 47 deals at a value of £369m. The highly skilled workforce and large, diverse manufacturing base in the North West has proven attractive to overseas investors and boosted figures for the region.

Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have proven to be the most attractive to overseas investors, thanks to their existing infrastructure and growth potential.  65.5 per cent of companies acquired in the North West had an annual turnover of under £20 million.

The North West has not experienced the kind of boom in overseas ‘mega deals’ (those valued at more than £1bn) that have been a feature of the deal making nationally since 2010.  This is due to the relatively low proportion of firms worth in excess of £1billion in the region.  However, as the inbound deals market for SME’s in the North West return to the levels last seen prior to the downturn, firms are reaping the benefits as opportunities for growth in the region are boosted.
The biggest investor in the North West over the last five years has been the USA with 76 deals worth a total value of £1.56 billion. France followed with 16 deals worth a total of £226 million along with Germany with 12 deals at a total value of £56.7 million.

Despite the rise in inward investment in the North West, outbound investment has fallen in Q1 2013 to five deals compared to eight in Q1 2012.  This is in contrast to the UK as a whole which has experienced a slight upturn in outbound transactions over the last two quarters.  However, at 95 outward deals since 2010, the North West is still out performing other regions, including the Midlands at 78 deals and the South West with 60 deals over the last two years.

Richard Bolton, Head of Experian Corpfin UK&I, said: “The rise in the level of inbound investment in the North West in Q1 2013 is a great boost for the region and the appetite for deal making remains strong.  Many large overseas businesses, holding large cash reserves are actively seeking strong, strategic investment opportunities.  The quality and range of businesses and skills in the region is attractive to these overseas investors and the established deal making community in the North West also plays its part.”

Overseas inward investment trends in North West (2003-2013)

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Top tips for SMEs looking to grow internationally by Nicol Fraser, Partner, Dunedin:

  1. Before deciding whether to enter new geographies, utilise experienced professional advisors, speak to existing network of contacts and use services such as UKTI.  In addition, international business reports can offer valuable insight into new and potential markets that otherwise might not have been considered.
  2. Ensure the management team is on board and has the desire to grow. Consider the potential for export, acquisitions or roll-out; and barriers to market entry - this is the case regardless of whether the company’s main market is the UK or international.
  3. When considering entering a new market, it is useful to have a mentor or recruit someone with international experience at board level or tier one management. This allows for understanding of cultural issues, logistics and regional differences. It also gives the board confidence that specialist knowledge exists within the team and enables them to act quickly and decisively.
  4. Create a team that will be open to change with pragmatic people who will get the job done. Good internal communication is important for all businesses, but it is particularly the case for international businesses.
  5. Test all products and services to ensure that the market demand exists and check whether customers’ needs are different in the new market.  Build up relationships and trust to ascertain whether there is demand and test it before committing.


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Gemma Wright
PR Manager
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About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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