- Number of investments in Europe increased by one percent to around 6000 projects in 2022
- Number of foreign investment projects in Switzerland fell again to 58
- US companies remain most important investors in Switzerland - ahead of France, Germany and the UK
- In Europe, Swiss investors are among the top 5, creating almost 14,000 new jobs
Zurich, May 11, 2023 - Foreign investors significantly reduced their commitment in Switzerland last year: The number of investment projects announced by foreign companies fell from 75 to 58 compared to the previous year. In 2020, 91 foreign investments were still counted in Switzerland.
These are the findings of a study by the audit and consulting firm EY on investment projects by foreign companies in Europe. For the study, investment projects that lead to the creation of new locations and new jobs are recorded; portfolio and M&A investments, on the other hand, are not taken into account.
Across Europe, a total of 5,962 investment projects by foreign investors were announced last year, an increase of one percent. However, this was still well below the pre-pandemic level. As a result, the number of foreign investment projects was seven percent lower than in 2019. "The focus of our study is on investment projects that require a correspondingly long lead time - investors must first define the potential location factors for a new manufacturing or service company in order to then decide on a location," says André Bieri, Markets Leader at EY in Switzerland. That is why there is still a certain pandemic effect in the current figures: "Intercontinental series have only been possible again without restrictions for a few months. This has only led to the creation of a pipeline for new investment projects in new locations in Europe, which is not yet reflected in the study.
The front-runner in the European ranking remains France, where development has been very dynamic for several years. The number of investment projects in France rose by three percent to 1,259 last year, following a 24 percent increase in the previous year. The United Kingdom occupies second place in the ranking, but the number of projects shrank by six percent to 929. Switzerland is in 17th place in this ranking with 58 investments - just behind Sweden (68 investments) and ahead of Hungary (50).
"The decline in this type of investment is not a cause for concern from the perspective of Switzerland, with limited resources in terms of qualified employees and space," Bieri says. "The focus of the study is on resource-intensive investments to create new locations and jobs, especially for manufacturing or service companies." Switzerland remains an excellent location for key strategic functions with high added value, which requires highly qualified employees.
Among the larger European locations, Turkey, Portugal and Poland developed particularly dynamically last year, with growth rates of more than 20 percent. "This very good performance in our ranking shows that these countries have positioned themselves ideally as investment locations for resource-intensive new manufacturing or service companies and as nearshoring locations for European companies," Bieri explains.
Declining foreign investment in Switzerland
A closer look at the 58 foreign investments counted in Switzerland in 2022 reveals that the USA is the most important investor for the second year in a row, with 21 investment projects. These are followed by neighboring France (7 investments) and Germany (6), as well as Great Britain and Austria (5 each). Three projects were counted from Japan, and two each from China and Brazil. One investment project each made its way to Switzerland from the Netherlands, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium and Malaysia.
Investments from Germany in particular have declined significantly over the last three years: While six investments were recorded this year, there were 14 last year and a full 27 projects in 2020. Investments from the UK have also declined from nine in the previous year to five. The number of investment projects from France (from 4 in 2021 to 7 in 2022) and Austria (from 1 in 2021 to 5 in 2022) has increased.
In terms of jobs created by these investments, the USA ranks first together with China: these investments have each created 150 new jobs in Switzerland. Investments from Japan provided 40 new jobs. Compared with the previous year, there has also been a significant decline in terms of new jobs: Last year, 345 jobs were created, while in 2021 the figure will be 727.
Swiss investors among the top 5 in Europe
Swiss investors are showing stability with their involvement abroad. In the ranking of the most important investors in Europe, Switzerland is in fifth place together with the Netherlands, ahead of China, Italy and Japan. The list is headed by the USA, followed by Germany, Great Britain and France.
For last year, 248 Swiss investments were counted, which is ten more than in 2021 (238). In 2020, 256 investments from Switzerland were counted. In 2022, investors from Switzerland were active in a total of 28 countries. The most attractive locations include France (66 investments from Switzerland), Germany (37), Portugal (20), the UK (18), Austria (17), Italy (14) and Spain (13).
In terms of jobs created, last year's investments resulted in an extraordinary 68% increase over the previous year: 13,564 new jobs were created by Swiss investments (2021: 8057; 2020: 6897). Especially in France (3193 jobs), Serbia (2330), Italy (1792) and Austria (1231) many new jobs have been counted.
Investors see Germany ahead of France and the UK - Switzerland in 8th place
For the EY study, a survey of 508 decision-makers at internationally active companies was conducted in February and March 2023. This survey asked about the most attractive investment locations for foreign investors at present. Compared with the previous year's survey, the proportion of respondents naming Germany as one of the top three locations in Europe rose from 42 to 62 percent. France (47 percent) and the UK (43 percent) are clearly behind. Switzerland is in eighth place in this attractiveness ranking - together with Luxembourg and a value of 11 percent.
For the study, FDI projects that have led to the creation of new locations and new jobs are recorded. Since portfolio investments and M&A are not included, the data collected show the extent to which foreign companies actually invest in manufacturing and service companies on the European continent.
However, the figures also include investments in property, plant and equipment, e.g. technical equipment and factory and office equipment. These data allow valuable conclusions to be drawn about how FDI projects are undertaken, in which activities investments are made, where these projects are localized and who carries them out.
Investment projects in the following categories are not included in the database: M&A and joint ventures, portfolio investments, and licensing agreements.