Multinational enterprise groups and their structure

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Why statistics on multinational enterprise groups?

Multinational enterprise groups play a major role in the EU economy. They contribute substantially in all EU countries to the production of goods and services, employment and investment.

Despite growing interest in the structure of multinational enterprise groups, Eurostat does not yet publish any European statistics on that topic. To meet this information need, Eurostat now publishes experimental statistics on multinational enterprise groups in the EU.

Why are the data published as experimental statistics?

The main reason is the quality of the underlying database — the EuroGroups Register (EGR), in particular as regards the relative completeness and accuracy of its data.

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The Register has excellent coverage (estimated at over 95 %) of large and medium-sized groups. However, its estimated coverage of small groups and their constituent enterprises stands at only 60%. This means it is not possible to reach very precise conclusions on the total population of multinational enterprise groups in the EU using EGR data.

The EGR is only one among various sources of national statistics on enterprise groups and foreign affiliates. EGR data are not always comparable with similar statistics on enterprise groups and affiliates in national publications. This is because national statistical authorities use additional information and procedures to produce national data.

Another reason for the experimental status of EGR data is the way data on group structures are produced. The EGR is a platform that merges the data of EU and EFTA countries with commercial data. The final view on groups is established on the basis of sources' preference rules and the business rules that govern the EGR system. The outcome may thus differ from the national view on groups.

Combining multiple sources can also lead to errors in group structures. Despite all the validation work invested in the process, accuracy problems may arise in the EGR output. Some group structures may be broken or fragmented.

How are the experimental statistics on multinational enterprise groups produced?

These statistics are extracted directly from the EuroGroups Register (EGR). No other data sources are used.

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All of the national statistical authorities of the EU and EFTA countries produce statistics on multinational groups, such as figures on foreign affiliates or foreign direct investment. These statistics are drawn from national sources and a EuroGroups Register (EGR).

The EGR - the central statistical business register of Eurostat and the EU and EFTA countries' statistical authorities - covers multinational enterprise groups operating in Europe. It provides the statistical authorities of the EU and EFTA countries with yearly population frames of multinational enterprise groups. The Register's main function is to provide the statistical authorities with a harmonised picture of multinational groups for their national statistics.

EGR data enable information to be produced on the overall structure of multinational enterprise groups in the EU, while preserving the confidentiality of micro-data.

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To help Eurostat improve these experimental statistics, users and researchers are kindly invited to give us their feedback:

  • How useful are the published data on multinational enterprise groups and the breakdowns of their structure?
  • What further breakdowns would interest you?
  • How useful would it be for the publication to provide detailed data on all EU countries?


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