• In 2015, non-financial foreign-owned business generated £326.5bn in the UK
    • Since 2008, aGVA for foreign-owned business has increased by 1%
  • The region with the largest proportion of foreign-owned business is London, at 6%
    • Manufacturing sector holds the highest amount of foreign-owned business, at9%

Per the 2017 release by ONS, titled Annual Business Survey: UK non-financial business economy foreign-owned businesses, in 2015, there were just over 2 million registered non-financial businesses in the UK, of which 1.1% (24,141) were owned by businesses outside of the UK (foreign-owned.), in their analysis of the report, decided to consider what percentage of the UK’s

  • biggest non-financial industries are foreign-owned, in comparison to UK-owned business.

Most notably, the manufacturing industry holds the highest number of foreign-owned business, at 2.9% (3,704.) Closely followed by the wholesale and retail trade (1.8%; 6,192) and the information and communication sector (1.5%; 2,848.)


However, despite such small proportions, collectively, non-financial foreign-owned industries contributed a vast £326.5 billion in approximate gross value added (aGVA) in 2015, a contribution of 28.5% to total aGVA in the UK. A phenomenal feat.

(N.B. ‘aGVA’ is a productivity measure that tallies up the net value of goods and services produced.)

In fact, since 2008 aGVA for foreign-owned businesses increased by 32.1% from £247.1 billion, compared with an increase from UK-owned businesses of 23.9%. The largest contribution came from the non-financial services sector where the level of aGVA for foreign-owned businesses increased by 67.4% over the period.

Unsurprisingly, the region with the largest proportion of foreign-owned businesses in 2015 was London, at 19.6% – contributing the highest proportion of foreign-owned aGVA, with 25.6% of the total.

The greatest contributor to foreign-owned businesses’ aGVA was Europe with 49.5% of the total and since 2008, aGVA from European-owned businesses increased by 42% compared with a rise of 12.8% from the next highest contributor, the Americas: businesses owned in Asia experienced growth of 93.6% over the same period.

James Turner, managing director of, comments:

“As we face the post-Brexit free fall it is important to remember that, though foreign-owned business is performing exceptionally well in the UK; so too is British-owned business.

The sheer number of UK companies in comparison to foreign-owned companies proves we have the potential to harness power and production right here in the UK, to at the very least compete and safeguard our future – should we meet with dissipation.”

Notes to editors: Please see the infographic for visual representation of the data. If used, please credit with a clickable link.

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