18 Nov 2013

Amid mixed results of EU firms in R&D investment, VW tops the global ranking

The 2013 Scoreboard is based on a sample of 2,000 companies which invested more than €22.6 million
The 2013 Scoreboard is based on a sample of 2,000 companies which invested more than €22.6 million in R&D in 2012.
© EU, 2013

The 2,000 top world investors listed in the 2013 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, increased R&D investments by 6.2% in 2012 compared to the previous year, showing a remarkable resilience in times of economic uncertainty. For the first time since 2004, an EU company – the German carmaker Volkswagen – is the world’s largest private sector R&D investor. These are the main findings of the Scoreboard released today. It was compiled by the JRC and the European Commission's Directorate General Research and Innovation.

Volkswagen tops the ranking with an investment of €9.5bn in 2012. Overall, EU-based firms (527 companies) stepped up R&D investment by 6.3%, just above the average of the 2000 firms in the Scoreboard (+6.2%). However, like last year they lagged behind their US counterparts (+8.2%). EU companies also showed a mixed performance depending on the sector, with strong R&D growth in some but stagnation or decline elsewhere. EU Scoreboard companies surveyed expect to increase their R&D investments by 2.6 % on average per year for the period 2013-2015, a fall in expectations over the previous year.

The 6.2% increase on average in R&D growth of the Scoreboard companies came despite a slowdown of net sales growth (+4.2% vs +9.9% in 2011) and a 10.1% decline in operating profits in 2012. The EU's overall positive results were largely driven by the R&D growth rates of German companies, particularly in the automobile sector.

Second place in the ranking goes to Samsung Electronics from South Korea with an investment of €8.3bn. Other companies in the top-10 include five based in the US (Microsoft, Intel, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer), two in Switzerland (Roche and Novartis) and one in Japan (Toyota).

The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard is published annually. This year's edition is based on the 2,000 top investors in R&D who together account for an investment value equivalent to more than 90% of the total expenditure on R&D by businesses worldwide.

The EU Survey on Industrial R&D Investment Trends complements the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard by gathering qualitative information on factors and issues surrounding and influencing companies' current and prospective R&D investment strategies.

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