Essex is proving to be a location with huge opportunities for businesses and investors alike. The county is attracting attention from US investors with investments in projects valuing £250-£300million. This follows the news that, for the first time in 12 months, the South East is outperforming London for investment.
Businesses in the advanced manufacturing and engineering, pharmaceuticals, Med Tech, healthcare and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) industries are finding The Harlow Enterprise Zone in Essex a highly attractive proposition in which to relocate. US technology and innovation businesses Raytheon and Arrow Electronics have recently committed to long term investments at the Enterprise Zone and negotiations are currently ongoing with a leading US life sciences company to join the 70 acre site.
Essex businesses prime targets for investors
In addition dynamic Essex businesses are becoming prime targets for foreign investors. Financial and business advisory firm Grant Thornton has just reported a significant upturn in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the county completing four major deals involving US buyers over the past 12 months and totalling more than £100m. The firm, who has offices in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, opened their first office in Essex earlier this year to work with expanding businesses in the county.
In the last few months Grant Thornton has supported the acquisition of Essex-based medical devices company, Medical Innovations Group, by US provider of infection prevention and control products, Cantel Medical Corp, in a deal worth more than £50m. The transaction followed another multi million pound deal in which Grant Thornton advised Stansted based matting suppliers, Zigma Ground Solutions, on its sale to US company Checkers Industrial Safety Products.
“We are seeing a growth in appetite from overseas buyers, particularly US companies who have been relatively conservative over the past few years and built up a mountain of cash on their balance sheets which is now ready to be deployed.
Essex businesses are bold, driven and eager to grow, making them prime targets for the right strategic investor – something which is clearly evidenced by the rise in M&A activity we are seeing across the county.”
Nehal Patel, Corporate Finance Manager, Grant Thornton
FDI into the UK is at an all-time high
The takeover of Medical Innovations and Zigma comes at a time when Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the UK is at an all-time high rising £90 billion in 2014 to £1 trillion. Companies around the world continue to see the UK as an ideal location for their business and the UK remains the leading destination for FDI in Europe. In 2014 the UK benefitted from over 900 FDI projects with a total value of $35 billion which accounted for almost 28% of FDI into Europe.
Essex - the biggest economy outside London or Manchester
Essex is proving a cost advantageous location for international companies wanting a UK base. The county is one of the UK’s premier business locations, bordering both Cambridge and London, Europe’s no1 investment location.
“Essex is an ambitious marketplace full of creative businesses looking to succeed and grow. The county is also home to two major airports plus Harwich International Port, the Port of Tilbury and Thames Gateway, and with close proximity to London, the international potential for these companies is huge.
It’s a great market for transactions right now. Buyers are prepared to offer a premium for quality companies and there is certainly an abundance of these in Essex.”
Tim Blois, Corporate Finance Director, Grant Thornton
INVEST Essex assisting businesses in Essex with commercial success
INVEST Essex offer free professional services to companies in Essex, the UK and abroad to help those companies to maximise the commercial opportunities of a business location on the doorstep of London and Cambridge and with excellent access to Europe.
INVEST Essex works with its commercial partners who enable them to deliver business growth solutions to businesses new to Essex, as well as many existing companies who are seeking assistance or advice on business growth or improving performance here in Essex.
For more information on INVEST Essex see here.