STATISTICS

Foreign Companies in Catalonia

The Directory of Foreign Companies established in Catalonia identifies all the companies with foreign capital in Catalonia. It identifies branch offices, subsidiaries and independent representation offices. With data coming from different sources (ORBIS, INFORMA, SABI, PRESS, ACCIÓ...) this directory includes companies with a fiscal address in Catalonia and also companies with operational centres in Catalonia, even though they have a fiscal address pertaining to the Spanish state, outside Catalonia.

7,086 foreign companies

Foreign companies established in Catalonia represent 1% of all companies, 18% of employment and 29% of turnover.

The large majority of foreign companies, 45.1%, are less than 10 years old. Consolidated companies, older than 20 years, are 28.4% of the total. The group of foreign companies established in Catalonia for more than 10 years but less than 20 represents 26.6% of companies.

They all have a significant international outreach: 31.5% of foreign companies established in Catalonia (that is, 2,237) export. They represent 7% of exporters and, with 27,349 M€ exported, they account for 45.4% of total exports from Catalonia.

By origin: countries and geographical areas

The Directory identifies 86 countries of origin for these companies. Twenty countries are the source of 91.1% of foreign companies in Catalonia.

By geographical area, Europe stands out, with 77.1% of companies, and America, with 15.4%. By countries, 13.8% of foreign companies established in Catalonia are German; French companies follow with 12.7% and then, US companies with 11.5% of the total. Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium are other European countries with a notable presence.

Macro-region Companies % of the total
Europe 5,466 77.1%
America 1,088 15.4%
Asia-Pacific 433 6.1%
Africa-Middle East 99 1.4%
Total 7,086 100%

Breakdown by sectors

According to the aggregate sales volume, automobile and motorcycle sectors (14.6%), food (13.5%) and chemicals (9.4%) lead the sector ranking of foreign companies established in Catalonia. 

In value chain terms, 33.8% of the turnover of foreign companies established in Catalonia corresponds to industrial activity, 32.1% to sales and 19.9% to services.

Where are foreign companies established in Catalonia?

Data on the map includes companies with foreign capital.

Sources and Methodology:

Directory of Foreign Companies established in Catalonia drawn up by ACCIÓ’s Competitive Strategy and Intelligence department using data from ORBIS, SABI, press and own sources. It includes companies with 50% or more of foreign capital. Employment figures and turnover are obtained from INE (National Statistics Institute). Number of exporting companies is obtained from ICEX.

  • The information on the share percentages, the corporate structures and the basic data is that declared by the companies in the Trade Registry. This can lead to ambiguities between the real origin of capital and the nationality of the companies headquarters (the country where it is registered), a fact which is especially relevant for companies registered in Luxembourg, Holland and Ireland.
  • Furthermore, it includes companies with a fiscal address in Catalonia and also companies with operational centres in Catalonia, even though they have a fiscal address pertaining to the Spanish state, outside Catalonia. If a productive plant, R&D centre or sales office is in Catalonia, then these businesses will form part of the directory. This reduces the incidence of headquarters, given that 1 of every 14 multinationals established in Catalonia have their registered office outside Catalonia.
  • In this article we only contemplate companies with 50% or more of foreign capital.

The Directory of Foreign Companies established in Catalonia is drawn up by ACCIÓ’s Competitive Strategy and Intelligence department using data from ORBIS, SABI, press and own sources.

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The 7,086 foreign companies established in Catalonia represent 1% of all companies, 18% of employment and 29% of turnover.

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