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UNCTAD’S Handbook of Statistics 2022 was released earlier this week, filled with data on everything from international merchandise and services trade to global marine transport to price trends and population (expected to surpass 8 billion before year’s end). It also contains foreign direct investment data.

“Global FDI flows in 2021 were US$1.6 trillion, up 64.3% from the exceptionally low level in 2020,” UNCTAD reports. “In 2021, developed economies more than tripled their investment abroad to US$1.3 trillion, from US$408 billion in 2020. The value of FDI outflows from developing economies rose by 17.8% to US$438 billion. Developing Asia and Oceania remained a major source of investment flows even during the pandemic.”

Asia and Oceania accounted for remarkable FDI inflow growth too, as it “rose to an all-time high for the third consecutive year, reaching US$619 billion, an increase of 19.3%.” FDI to developing Asia and Oceania, the largest recipient region of FDI, accounted for 39.1% of global inflows. FDI flows to Africa reached US$83 billion – also a record – from US$39 billion in 2020, more than doubling the 2020 level. And FDI inflows rose by 56% to US$134 billion in the developing economies of the Americas, “recovering part of the ground lost in 2020,” UNCTAD stated.

Below are the Top 20 countries by value of FDI inflows and outflows. Top 10 finishers on the inflows list that are absent on the outflows list include India, South Africa and Mexico. The Conway Data Projects Database indeed shows that of the 290 qualifying major facility projects from India-based companies we’ve tracked since January 2021, 227 of them (78%) were staying in fast-growing India. Exceptions include Granules India’s just-announced pharmaceutical distribution center in Prince William, Virginia, and a 50-job HQ in Little Rock, Arkansas, from Sequretek IT Solutions earlier this year. Nearly 92% of Mexican companies’ 159 projects during that time frame are staying home, with major exceptions from such giants as Grupo Bimbo, which is investing $430 million and creating 320 jobs in Zanesville, Ohio. Among the 28 major facility projects from South African companies tracked during that time, 21 of them (75%) are in South Africa, with exceptions such as chemical company AECI’s investment in Benton, Illinois; Advanced 4x4 Solutions’ 100-job project in Woodward, Oklahoma; and, you guessed it, several projects landing in India. — Adam Bruns

Top Countries by Value of FDI Outlows, 2021*

Rank Economy Value (US$B) Ratio to GDP (%)
1 United States of America 403 1.7
2 Germany 152 3.6
3 Japan 147 3
4 China 145 0.8
5 United Kingdom 108 3.4
6 Canada 90 4.5
7 China, Hong Kong SAR 87 23.6
8 Russian Federation 64 3.6
9 Ireland 62 12.7
10 Korea, Republic of 61 3.4
11 Singapore 47 12.3
12 Belgium 46 7.7
13 Netherlands 29 2.9
14 Luxembourg 25 29.9
15 Saudi Arabia 24 2.9
T16 Brazil 23 1.4
T16 United Arab Emirates 23 5.4
18 Denmark 22 5.7
19 Sweden 20 3.3
20 Thailand 17 3.4

*excluding Caribbean financial centers

Top 20 Host Economies by Value of FDI Inflow, 2021*

Rank Economy Value (US$B) Ratio to GDP (%)
1 United States of America 367 1.6
2 China 181 1
3 China, Hong Kong SAR 141 38
4 Singapore 99 25.7
5 Canada 60 3
6 Brazil 50 3.1
7 India 45 1.4
8 South Africa 41 10.9
9 Russian Federation 38 2.2
10 Mexico 32 2.5
11 Germany 31 0.7
12 Israel 30 6.3
13 United Kingdom 28 0.9
14 Sweden 27 4.3
15 Belgium 26 4.3
T16 Australia 25 1.5
T16 Poland 25 3.7
T16 Japan 25 0.5
19 United Arab Emirates 21 4.9
20 Indonesia 20 1.7

*excluding Caribbean financial centers




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From the September Issue


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Wells Enterprises’ best-known brand is Blue Bunny. Yum.

Archive photo courtesy of Wells

An era came to an end (or, if you like, reached a new beginning) when it was announced last week that Wells Enterprises, the Iowa-based maker of Blue Bunny ice cream and the legendary Bomb Pop among other treats, had reached an agreement to be acquired by Luxembourg-based conglomerate The Ferrero Group. The buyer, launched as a family company in 1946 with a pastry shop in Alba, Italy, is a relative upstart in comparison to Wells, which was founded in 1913 as a dairy delivery wagon business and has since become the world’s largest family owned and managed ice cream company. “In Le Mars,” Lesley Bartholomew, director of corporate and employee communications for Wells, told me six years ago when Site Selection also was recognizing the Sioux City metro area as a Top Metro, “life truly is sweet.”

Site Selection readers will recall Gary Daughters’ March 2022 interview with Mike Wells, member of the founding family and current CEO and chief engagement officer, when Site Selection was recognizing the Sioux City metro area as a Top Metro. “We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” said Mike Wells last week. “Ferrero is a likeminded company with a commitment to providing high-quality, premium sweet-packaged food products that bring joy to consumers around the world.” Wells has offices in Le Mars and production operations in Le Mars; Henderson, Nevada; and Dunkirk, New York. “For over a century, Wells Enterprises has been an outstanding corporate citizen in the Siouxland tri-state metro, and we do not expect that to change in any way,” Chris McGowan, president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce / The Siouxland Initiative, told me in an email this morning. “Over the years, the Wells family and their executive leadership team declined countless unsolicited offers because they wanted to be certain that any entity that acquired the company would share their values, as well as their commitment to community. The key decision-makers at Wells believe that they have identified and selected the ideal partner in the family-owned Ferrero Group, which has indicated that Wells will remain a stand-alone business with offices in Le Mars, Iowa.”

As for the buyer, “this deal continues the Ferrero Group’s expansion agenda in North America following the successfully managed acquisitions of Fannie May (2017), former Nestlé U.S. confectionery business and Kellogg company’s cookies and fruit snacks businesses (2018),” the announcement stated. The company also acquired Ferrara Candy Company (2017) — manufacturer and U.S. candy market category leader of Nerds, Trolli, Sweet-tarts and Black Forest — and has established a new Innovation Center and R&D Lab in Chicago, as well as pursued two major expansions to its Bloomington, Illinois, plant. Ferrero and its related parties now count more than 8,000 employees, nine offices and 18 plants in North America. — Adam Bruns




Solid-state lithium cell technology company SOLiTHOR, based in Genk, Belgium, this week entered into a 10-year contract with Punch Powertrain nv to establish a European Centre of Excellence for solid-state lithium batteries at its site in Sint Truiden, Belgium. The company will move into the plant in January 2023 and will start pre-production of its solid-state cell technology later in the new year. “SOLiTHOR can now move swiftly to upscale the production and manufacture of our solid-state lithium batteries with the support of our investors,” said Huw Hampson-Jones, founder and CEO of SOLiTHOR. “It means moving forward towards the commercialization of our cell and battery systems technology. This is a significant step forward not only for Belgium, but for Europe as a whole and means being less dependent on Asia or the United States.” The building the company is moving into is owned by LRM, which also owns a local airstrip in Sint Truiden that SOLiTHOR hopes “will be used to develop and test aerospace and defense battery systems in the future.”

Source: Conway Projects Report


Counselor Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab, CEO of Egypt’s General Authority of Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), participated last week in laying the foundation stone for the first Beko factory in the Middle East, with investments estimated at $100 million to produce home appliances in 10th of Ramadan City. Beko is a subsidiary of Turkish conglomerate Arçelik Group and one of the 10 largest companies in the world for household appliances, operating in more than 100 countries with 28 factories and 12 brands. Production is expected to begin quickly, with the manufacture of washing machines and electric ovens projected to commence during the fourth quarter of 2023. A GAFI release said the authority “is currently negotiating with the company to increase its activities in Egypt by adding new production lines that include air conditioners and televisions, as well as studying to inject new investments in the field of engineering industries by the global Arçelik Group.”

Source: Conway Projects Report



Photo courtesy of LLNL

Two days ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced the achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) — “a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power,” said the lab, located in Livermore, California, halfway between the Bay Area and Tracy. This photograph shows the target chamber of LLNL’s National Ignition Facility, where 192 laser beams delivered more than 2 million joules of ultraviolet energy to a tiny fuel pellet to create fusion ignition on Dec. 5, 2022. Fusion is the process by which two light nuclei combine to form a single heavier nucleus, releasing a large amount of energy. “In the 1960s, a group of pioneering scientists at LLNL hypothesized that lasers could be used to induce fusion in a laboratory setting,” a lab release stated.

“The pursuit of fusion ignition in the laboratory is one of the most significant scientific challenges ever tackled by humanity, and achieving it is a triumph of science, engineering, and most of all, people,” LLNL Director Dr. Kim Budil said. “Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit — a continual process of learning, building, expanding knowledge and capability, and then finding ways to overcome the new challenges that emerged. These are the problems that the U.S. national laboratories were created to solve.”