Spain is a key destination for the internationalization of Latin American firms and has become their main gateway to Europe. In fact, in the last decade, Latin America has become the fourth largest investor in Spain, behind only the United States, the United Kingdom and France, and ahead of countries such as Germany and China.
The region’s cumulative investment in Spain now stands at 42,663 million euros, 61,104 million if investment in holdings is included. Since 2010, Latin America has invested an annual average of €3.8 billion in Spain. Latin American companies already operating in Spain include Hawaianas and Queiroz Galvao (Brazil), Grupo Alfa and Nexxus Capital (Mexico), Insud Pharma and Auravant (Argentina), Sudamericana de Vapores (Chile), Colombina (Colombia) and AJE Group (Peru).
In 2020, Spain received €968 million of investment from Latin America, a substantially lower level than in 2019 and similar to 2018. This is a decrease of 38.4% compared to the annual average of Latin American investment in Spain over the last 10 years. A fall lower than that seen by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worldwide, estimated at 42% by UNCTAD. The data on productive investment contrasts with the high investment activity of Latin American holding companies, which are very present in Spain. Specifically in 2020, this type of operations grew by 152% compared to 2019. This high activity of financial flows in holding companies reflects the growing importance of Spain as a gateway for Latin American investment in third destinations, especially in Europe.
Despite the difficulties for new operations during the pandemic, some very significant investments were recorded in 2020. Notably, numerous greenfield investment projects were announced by Latin American companies, particularly in technology companies. Examples include the expansion of investment activity by Argentina’s technology company Globant, Brazil’s financial services company IG4, Brazil’s financial services company Creditas, Argentina’s software development company Veritran, and Mexico’s KioNetworks, which specialises in data analytics.