Industrial and high value investments in the European Union, 2016-2018

The Industries & Strategies database, created by Trendeo and supported by prestigious sponsors, tracks, since 2016, every industrial investment (manufacturing, energy, logistics, R&D) announced worldwide (over 30 MUSD or 50 jobs). Each information is classified by product, sector, company, country, even a qualitative score (Advanced factories score). Since january 2016, 8 789 investments have been tracked, among them 1 234 in the European Union (14%). Since the database is updated weekly, our users benefit from a more detailed information, including canceled investments, advanced factories score details, capacity.

A map of industrial investments in the European Union tracked by Trendeo from january 2016 to april 2018

In the database, each information is described precisely across 30 quantitative and qualitative fields. The tables below synthetize the available data alongside different criteria.

European Union within the world

Considered as a country (and including the United Kingdom), the European Union ranks third by number of projects received, and fourth by amount invested and jobs created. Even without the United Kingdom, the European would keep those ranks, but would come closer to China and further away from the United States.

Top countries by number of projects received, jobs and by
investment received in M$, 2016-2018

Geographical repartition within the EU

The United Kingdom, France and Germany received collectively half of the projects and jobs detected by Trendeo, and 66% of amounts invested. Nuclear projects announced in the UK are responsible, in part, for the huge share of the UK in the amounts invested. For industrial investments specially, the biggest projects distort the data (at the world level, the top 10 projects, 0,11% of the total, make for 9% of the amounts invested).

Investments by country, announced within the European Union, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo,
by number of projects, jobs created, and amounts invested.

Which representativity for our data?

It is not easy to compare with other rankings, but we have used two databases for this purpose: the European Restructuration Monitor (ERM), published by the Eurofound, and the European Investment Monitor 2017 (EIM), published by EY. The ERM tracks announcement of jobs creation or destruction throughout Europe (with more than 100 jobs created or suppressed), in all sectors. We have used their data for manufacturing, transportation/storage and Mining/Quarrying, and for business expansions, from January 2016 to April 2018. The top three countries in ERM data are Poland (170 projects), France (108 projects) and Romania (104 projects), UK is in fourth position and Germany 7th. The data are very different[1]. Some countries seem to be under-represented in our data, mainly east-european countries and more particularly Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. Other countries are probably under-represented by ERM, Germany in particular.

The scope of the European Investment Monitor by EY is different: it tracks only investment by foreign companies, and include services investments. The similarity with our ranking is that it tracks real investments creating jobs within EU, and that both series should reflect, in one way or other, countries attractiveness. We have compared Trendeo’s data (2016-2018) with the last year known for EIM (2016, published in 2017). The top three countries in the EIM are the same than in Trendeo’s data: United Kingdom (1 144 projects), Germany (1 063 projects) and France (779 projects). EIM data place Germany closer to the UK and ahead of France. Overall, the data are much closer between EIM and Trendeo than for ERM and Trendeo (see appendix).

Many reasons can explain differences between rankings related to real investments:

  • Languages used: when using only English to track announcements related to investment, one track mainly the most important projects, whereas someone using languages such as Polish, Czech or Romanian will be able to capture smaller projects, adding more depth to the data collected;
  • Some countries may have different investment structure by company size: it is probably more difficult to track investments in countries known for having a lot of middle sized (Germany) or small (Italy) companies, than in countries where big companies are more represented (France, UK);
  • There is a difference between the scope of data collected: some projects in the ERM database may be part of an industrial sector but for services activities (headquarters, shared service centers). As of now, we only track activities related to manufacturing, logistics, R&D and energy, so services by companies within the manufacturing sector, except for R&D, are not included in our data;
  • Since we are tracking industrial and high value investments, the bigger projects weight more (in terms of amount invested) than in other rankings. Data on industrial investment will be more representative, by amount invested, with a data collection span of 5 years at least.

We are very conscious of these limitations and are working on reducing them. We think however that our general results are representative of the most important trends and we try to inform users and readers of some limitations in our findings. We also think that the detail of the information we collect, and specially our plant of the future score, are informative and can illustrate and complete other statistical analyses.

Among the 30 top regions (out of 242 regions in which investments have been tracked), there are 10 French regions, 7 Germans and 4 British (this number will probably change when we will split England in nine Nuts1 regions). Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Poland have, each, only one region in this ranking (respectively Catalonia, Lombardy, Flanders, North-Brabant and Lower Silesia).

Investments by region, announced within the European Union, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo,
by number of projects, jobs created and amounts invested.

By city and by number of projects, Dublin comes first, with ten projects. Some cities have received manufacturing projects, like Coventry or Kecskemét, others, such as London or Paris, mainly received R&D or data center projects. Dublin has a mix of manufacturing, R&D, power generation and water treatment projects. In the top 30 cities, 4 are national capitals.

Top cities in the European Union by number of projects received,
jobs and by investment amount received, 2016-2018

Investment by country of origin

By country of origin, foreign direct investment makes slightly less than one third of projects and amount invested, 44% of jobs created and 26% of amounts invested. The main foreign investors are, by far, the United States, followed by Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Russia, and some neighbouring countries, members of the European Free Trade Association: Norway and Switzerland.

Country of origin of investments announced in the European Union, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo,
by number of projects, jobs created and amounts invested.

Investment by company

By company and by number of projects, Amazon tops the list of investors, with 32 investments (it does also top the list at worldwide level). German groups are very much present in the top ranks, with 6 groups in the top ten, although Germany itself is only the third country receiving investments. In fact, further analysis show that German groups localize 62% of their projects in Germany, while the share of domestic investment for French groups is 86%, and 84% for British groups.

Companies announcing investments in the European Union, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo,
by number of projects, jobs created and amounts invested.

Sectors and activities

The database characterizes the main type of activity for each project. The data shows that power generation represent almost half the amount invested and manufacturing, a quarter. The column difference with the world compares the share of each activity in the EU with the world share of this activity. It shows that the share of power generation is 23% higher in the EU than at world level, manufacturing, on the contrary is 16% lower. R&D activities are better represented within the EU than globally.

Investments announced in the European Union, 2016-2018, tracked by Trendeo, by number of projects,
jobs created and amounts, by type of activity. Last column: average amount invested by project.

On a more detailed level, the electricity, gas and steam sector makes almost half of the amount invested within the EU. An analysis by product (see appendix) show that renewables (wind mostly) amount for almost 40% of the investments in the energy sector. It is much more important than the share of this sector at the global level. The automotive sector is also better represented within EU. Sectors that are less represented than at global levels are chemicals, electronics, refining and basic metals. In terms of jobs, the automotive industry represents almost one third of the jobs announced.

Investments by sector, 2016-2018, in number of projects, jobs and amount invested. Last column: average amount invested by project.

Top projects

The following table lists the biggest ten investments announced since january 2016. Energy, mining and the automotive industry are the only sectors included. Those ten projects (among more than 1200 projects), represent 26% of the total amount invested.

Qualitative scores

Our advanced factories score aggregates six components defined with our partners (Fives, EDF - Electricité de France - and the Institut de la réindustrialisation):

  • Flexibility: the ability to switch from a product to another, enabling made-to-order manufacturing,
  • Digitalization: the introduction of technologies such as IoT, robotics, automation,
  • Energy efficiency: every measure taken to lower energy consumption compared with usual norms,
  • Social efforts: measures undertaken for operations, through working conditions, health and safety concern, training, education and wages…,
  • Territorial efforts: decisions aiming at improving the relations between a production site and local communities and stakeholders, such as favoring local suppliers, funding schools, contributing to local social projects…,
  • Environmental efforts: reducing carbon footprint and pollution, water preservation…

Each criterion is ranked 0 (no mention in the news describing the investment), 1 (some measures described) or 2 (quantitative objectives defined for the criterion considered or insistence on it).

Adding those 0-2 scores over six criteria gives a total Industry of the Future score which varies from 0 to 12.

There are, listed in the following table, the 13 projects with a score of 8 or more. The average score in the European Union is 1,27, higher than the average global score (1,01) and above the average score in the United States (1,21).

Detailed Sample

Each operation is described on a dedicated page in the database, including information such as production capacity.


Comparison between Trendeo’s data and the European Restructuration Monitor (Eurofound) and the European Investment Monitor (EY). Under the trend line, countries that are more present within Trendeo’s data, over the trend line, countries that are more represented within ERM or EIM data.

Detail of the energy sector, by product and type of product

The next table shows the detail by product and type of products for the energy sector.

Repartition of the investment by product and type of product within the energy sector, 2016-2018


This document is a short synthesis of the data available in the Industries & Strategies database about investments in the European Union. You can learn much more about this database by contacting Trendeo.


The Industries & Strategies database has been made possible by our sponsors: Fives, the Institut de la Réindustrialisation, EDF and Defi&Co (Programme d’investissement d’avenir (PIA), managed by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations).

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