Sunderland transport firm makes top 50 investment list

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NORTH-East transport giant Arriva has been chosen to highlight the vital role which foreign investment plays in the UK economy.

The Doxford International-based firm features on the inaugural Sunday Times PA Consulting Inward Investment Track 50, a list of the largest foreign employers in the UK, which is unveiled tomorrow.

The former Cowie Group was rebranded as Arriva in 1997 and taken over by German transport operator Deutsche Bahn in August 2010.

The firm operates train and bus services across the country. Grand Central, which operates Sunderland’s rail link to London, became part of the Arriva group in November 2011.

Arriva employs almost 25,000 people in the UK, enough to see it clock in at 18th on the new league table.

Other companies with a significant presence in the region to make the list include industrial and financial services firm GE, which acquired Newcastle-based oil & gas business Wellstream in 2011 and French energy company GDF Suez, which employs 19,000 people in the UK and has a number of subsidiaries operating in the region, including Redcar-based energy services business Cofely Fabricom.

Colm Reilly, who leads PA Consulting Group’s economic development unit and is managing director of UKTI’s investment services, said: “These are exciting times for UK inward investment, and companies operating in the North East show what can be achieved.

“Britain is making good progress, but there is more to be done. Companies must learn to focus on developing technology that can help a variety of sectors, rather than serving the industries they have typically worked with.”

The UK is one of the top locations in the world for investment by overseas-based corporates and attracted $62billion of new investment in 2012, the highest level in Europe.

The 45,000 businesses created employ three million people, account for more than 13 per cent of the country’s workforce, and contribute at least 36 per cent of the UK’s total turnover.