The Basque Government, through SPRI, attracted 22 new foreign investment projects in 2015

10 February, 2016
Arantza Tapia and Alexander Arriola.

The “Invest in the Basque Country” unit multiplied the previous year’s results fourfold. It means investment of 137.05 million euros, creating 608 new jobs and maintaining 1,027.

Invest in the Basque Country (IBC), a specific SPRI unit to attract and retain foreign direct investment (FDI), convinced 22 new industrial projects to invest in the Basque Country during 2015, which means that it multiplied by more than 4 the five investments achieved the previous year, through this initiative of the Basque Government Department of Economic Development and Competitiveness.

Overseen by this unit, 22 foreign companies chose the Basque Country to carry out new investments amounting to 137.05 million euros in 2015. As a result, 608 new jobs have been created and another 1,027 maintained. One year earlier this SPRI unit attracted 5 projects, accounting for 15 million euros in investment, with 175 jobs created and 200 maintained.

Attracting foreign investment into the Basque Country is one of the strategic policies that the Basque Government has historically carried out in its industrial and economic development sector, a task that has always been entrusted to SPRI. However, it has been this term, following reflection on the methodology implemented in 2013, when this line of work has been strengthened by increasing the number of projects assessed and also the number of companies “captured”.

Since the Invest in the Basque Country strategy was strengthened, 27 foreign investment projects have been attracted in just two years, involving 152.05 million euros in investment, creating 783 jobs and maintaining 1,227.

Invest in the Basque County (IBC) Unit

The mission of the IBC strategy is to position the Basque Country as a reference location in southern Europe in attracting FDI in its priority niches.

Its aim is to achieve recognition of FDI as an additional factor to existing local investments in launching new economic activity in the Basque Country. Attracting investment reinforces and complements the resources that Basque strategies and policies mobilise to create wealth, jobs and social progress sustainably.

IBC contributes towards positioning the Basque Country as the best location in southern Europe for innovative and high added value activities, especially concerning the energy sector and the application of advanced manufacturing solutions.

After care to look after and maintain what exists

In addition to attracting new investments, the Basque Government’s Invest strategy plays an important role in retaining existing investments, and in looking after and attending to companies that have already invested and continue to invest in the Basque Country. This is called “after care”.

There are almost 700 enterprises with foreign capital in the Basque Country, 350 of which are working in priority sectors for our economy, aligned with the Smart Specialisation Strategy, RIS3, such as energy, automotive and aeronautics. In the strategy of “looking after” investments already made, a schedule of follow-up and comparison visits is carried out, to know about their status and evolution, with 28 of these companies visited in 2015.

New investments

For Invest in the Basque Country (IBC) to have achieved 22 new investments, 72 projects had to be assessed. It is a complex task of searching for potential investors around the world, competing with the agencies of other countries and regions globally and coordinating all the tools that the Basque Country possesses in order to make that investor decide to invest in our territory. The fact that there are more investment “driver” agencies worldwide than investor projects reveals the enormous competition that exists.

IBC has attraction antennas worldwide. These include SPRI’s own foreign network of offices, the members of the SPRI IBC unit, as well as law firms abroad, embassies, consulates and Invest in Spain (part of ICEX) for which IBC is the contact in the Basque Country.

Location and origin of projects

Of the 22 projects mentioned, 13 have been located in Biscay (Bizkaia), 5 in Alava and 4 in Gipuzkoa. The main purpose of these has been the development of production plants and the creation of corporate R&D&I units.

The appeal of the Basque Country for FDI lies in its proximity to interesting markets and customers and its existing industrial environment. The main countries of origin of these investments were the United States, Germany and France, and the most important business sectors were automotive, energy, aeronautics and EICT (Electronics, Information and Communication Technology).

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