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Milan, the favorite destination in Italy for foreign capital

by Micaela Cappellini

Milan is the favorite destination for foreign capital. For every two foreign businesses that invest in Italy, one chooses Lombardy as the ideal location for its headquarters.

And the majority of these businesses choose the province of Milan, where approximately 30% of all the foreign investments in Italy are concentrated, according to the Observatory of Invest in Lombardy, the regional agency to attract foreign investment in Lombardy.

The Invest in Lombardy Days conference starts today, eleven days of seminars and B2b meetings dedicated to foreign investments in Lombardy and in Italy.

At the end of 2014, there were 4,721 foreign investments in Lombardy, 48.6% of the national total, employing more than 407,000 people and that have a total turnover of €220 billion.

In the province of Milan alone, the foreign headquarters are 3,285, they employ 280,000 workers and create a total turnover of more than €170 billion.

Last year Lombardy saw a significant upturn in green field foreign investments, up 17% compared to 2013.

This growth rate confirms that Lombardy is one of the best regions in Europe for attracting foreign capital: according to the latest rankings published by “FDI Intelligence” (the division of the Financial Times group dedicated to foreign investments), Lombardy is in 12th place in the European rankings.

The first among the Italian regions ranked, it also places better than regions that are considered highly competitive, like the metropolitan area of Berlin, southern Finland, or the northwest of England, such as the region of Manchester.

The scale of the FDI Intelligence judgement takes into account the economic potential, the human capital and the lifestyle, the state of the infrastructure and the ease of doing business.

Besides following closely behind the most competitive areas of Germany or of Great Britain, Lombardy is in first place among the regions of southern Europe for the number of foreign direct investments.

A marked improvement over the 2012-2013 edition of this study, where Lombardy just made it into the general Top Ten of the southern European regions.

Invest in Lombardy is the service for attracting foreign investments into the Lombardy area.

The project is promoted by Unioncamere Lombardia, the Lombardy Chambers of Commerce network and Promos - the Special Agency of the Milan Chamber of Commerce - with the support of the Lombardy Region.

From 2012 to today, the agency has supported 546 foreign agencies that have invested in Lombardy in 53 different sectors: among the most popular are food and automotive (both representing 6% of the projects followed by Invest in Lombardy), pharmaceuticals and consulting (these last two represent 5% each).

Among the ten countries that are most interested in investing in Lombardy, India stands out: thanks to the presence of a desk in that country, in fact, Invest in Lombardy has received more than 100 expressions of interest from New Delhi.

In addition to Europe and the US, projects from China, South Korea, Japan and Brazil are growing .

According to calculations made by the Lombardy regional agency for foreign investments, every 17 minutes an agency around the world enters into contact with Invest in Lombardy.

The assisted foreign companies receive on average 18 hours of personalized and free services with the result that every two months at least five investments are finalized.