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Foreign investment flows to France

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John Nelson

At the end of May, Lloyd’s Chairman John Nelson explained Lloyd’s new Vision 2025 to a hundred of its key partners at the Lloyd’s dinner, hosted at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris.

While delegates discussed the ongoing eurozone crisis and the impact of Solvency II on the European insurance industry, John Nelson affirmed the strength of the relationship between the Lloyd’s market in the UK and France,

“The French market is the largest source of revenue for Lloyd’s in continental Europe, ” he pointed out, “Turnover in 2011 was around 540 million euros, divided between direct insurance and reinsurance – and it is growing at a healthy rate.”

Lloyd’s is not the only international player to see a strong future for France. 2011 saw the second highest number of foreign investment projects in the country in over a decade.

Nearly 700 new foreign investment projects were confirmed during the last year – around thirteen every week.

The spread of those investing showed businesses of all sizes recognise the country’s potential, with 28% of projects announced by SME’s, 34% by mid-size companies and 39% from large corporates.

The United States, in particular, returned to its number one position as France’s leading investor, with a 75% rise in investment in production and manufacturing in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, chemicals and plastics and materials for both aerospace and railway materials.

John Nelson confirmed that France has always proved something of a good luck charm during his own business career,

“Being here in Paris this evening feels like coming home, ” he told his audience, “France is a country where the businesses I have been involved in such as Kingfisher, Hammerson and Lazard have really flourished, so it’s not surprising I feel a great affinity for the French business community.”

Investments from emerging economies too, showed little sign of slowing down and are increasing incrementally year on year. In 2003, BRICS economies accounted for just 65 of all foreign investment projects in France. By 2011 that had increased steadily to 6%.

The growth of investment from these growing economies perfectly illustrates the ambitions of Lloyd’s new Vision, which sets the scene for the Lloyd’s market in the years ahead. By bringing in more business from emerging countries, the market will attract new capital and an increasingly diverse pool of talent to reflect the changing economic world order.

As those attending the event were swift to confirm, the Lloyd’s way of doing business provides a unique set of advantages to help them make the most of the opportunities this evolution is already bringing to the industry.

(source: Lloyd’s of London – news)

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