German investors snub UK in favour of Eastern Europe

Car maker BMW’s £1.7bn revamp of Rover’s Longbridge factory looks set to be the last big German investment in UK industry, reports Paul Carslake from the Hannover Fair, the world’s biggest industrial show. Analysts say a combination of low labour costs and rents and improving legal and regulatory conditions are fuelling a rush to invest […]

Car maker BMW’s £1.7bn revamp of Rover’s Longbridge factory looks set to be the last big German investment in UK industry, reports Paul Carslake from the Hannover Fair, the world’s biggest industrial show.

Analysts say a combination of low labour costs and rents and improving legal and regulatory conditions are fuelling a rush to invest in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

`We do not know of many German companies keen to invest in the UK,’ Antonio D’Auria, manager at Dresdner Bank, told The Engineer. `With the opening up of Eastern Europe, you have a source of low-cost, skilled employees where rents are low.’

Representatives from the Invest in Britain Bureau, looking for investment opportunities at the show, have found the keenest prospects continue to be the big software and electronics companies.

Exhibitors at Hannover’s high-tech CeBIT show last month were more enthusiastic about the UK than the industrial firms at Hannover this week, said IIBB project manager Paul Walsh.