When companies choose Porto as a foreign investment destination, this is what happens…

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Miguel Nogueira

Talent, competence, good infrastructure, life quality and a favourable macroeconomic scenario are some of the most relevant drivers for foreign investment in Porto. An while Porto is constantly and steadily developing and strengthening its markets, this is poised to create jobs and increase employment, in a city that is viewed as a pool of exceptional resources of specialized knowledge, ability and talent, as, for example, recently stated by Euronext’s CEO.

These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by Predibisa for the real estate sector, which reads that “Porto and the Northern region show higher attractiveness rates than the ones in the centre and the south of the country”.

Throughout the last decade, the Predibisa highlights that “the region has been able to attract diversified investment, and therefore talent. That investment is noticeable in traditional sectors with innovation components, which make Porto stand out from other cities, with estate demand leveraged by four macroeconomic indicators: talent, know-how, good infrastructure and life quality.

Comparing to Lisbon, these indicators also have an influence in the weighing scale; the price per square metre is, in general, lower in the city of Porto, (the reference value is 3.500 euros per square metre against 5.800 euros in Lisbon), but as far as yields value is concerned – the earnings generated and realized on an investment over a particular period of time, which is expressed as a percentage based on the invested amount, current market value, or face value of the security – the Invicta offers better guarantees.

Also important is the employment generated, as the creation of jobs is higher in Porto. In absolute terms, per each foreign investment project in the city, an average of 115 workplaces are created in Porto; whereas in Lisbon only half are generated, according to Predibisa.

“Porto has become the city for international investment. We are talking of a region that is evermore known as the settlement destination for added-value international investment services’ companies. Besides the competitive real estate costs, there are also the highly skilled workforce, the academia and the strong I&D hub, a Mediterranean climate and an affordable living cost, all in one of the most safest countries in the world", affirms João Nuno Magalhães, general-director of Predibisa, who furthers that in the last decade, the region of the greater Porto has become more appealing to the majority of companies than other regions in Europe.

Regarding the constraints by the ongoing pandemic, experts believe that when the sanitary crisis is overcome, markets will resume the growth tendency recorded in the past years.

A study carried out by the Municipality of Porto, through InvestPorto, showed that despite the strong impact of Covid-19 on local economy, the majority of strategic companies for the city's economic development faces the future with optimism and retains the intention of continuing to recruit new collaborators.

Porto has been mostly struck by the pandemic at the level of micro companies, hotel and tourism sectors and national investors. Conversely, big companies, the Tech sector and international investors indicate slight losses. This study by Porto City Hall features the findings calculated on the basis of the feedback by 65 companies in the city, through the inquiry: "Porto: Covid-19 Business Continuity Survey", drafted by InvestPorto. Participating companies with over 4.000 employees have generated a combined turnover of 768 million euros.

In addition, these transactions also certify the trends CBRE envisaged in the beginning of the year that showed office rental search by international companies in the city of Porto, with the goal of "settling their research and development sectors", and not only by foreign companies but also national companies, according to the newspaper Construir.

Several international companies continued to rent office space in Porto during the Emergency State. This information was released by the consultant CBRE, which alone leased circa 7.500 square meters.

Foreign investment in Porto did not stop amid the most critical time of the Covid-19 outbreak. According to CBRE, cited by the newspaper Construir, this performance was achieved "exclusively" by foreign companies, which "confirms Portugal and especially Porto and the Northern region investment attractiveness".

In line with the trends presented by the consultant, last January, downtown Porto was considered the most attractive business zone, due to the vast offer of leisure and convenience spots and a good metro network.