Elena Ramírez Marín
Partner, Kreston Iberaudit

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Elena Ramírez Marín currently oversees the Tax and Outsourcing areas at Kreston’s office in Catalonia, representing Kreston International in Spain, Andorra, and Portugal. With a 30-year background in the tax and auditing sector, her career has been particularly focused on outsourcing and tax services. She holds the position of Manager at the Kreston Iberaudit International Office and is a member of the Kreston Board.

Investing in Spain

January 11, 2024

We recently spoke to Elena Ramírez Marín, partner at Kreston Iberaudit about the surging interest in investing in Spain during 2023 and the outlook for 2024. Spain attracts international businesses from the USA, UK and Germany, a trend underscored by striking figures: a gross foreign investment exceeding €34,178 million in 2022, marking the second highest since records began in 1993. With record FDI coming in, exports going out also hit a record €319.86 billion. This good news is underlined by the European Commission’s prediction that Spain will continue to outperform the German economy almost 2:1 for the next 2 years.

“In the first three months of 2023, Spain saw an 8.1% increase in gross foreign investment compared to the same period in 2022, with non-ETVE (holding) investment growing by 20.3% to reach 9,912 million euros. This marks a 50.8% rise from the five-year average. Industry emerged as a key sector, attracting 48.8% of total foreign investment, almost equal to the 48.5% garnered by the services sector, while construction received 2.6%.”

Strategic location

Marín highlights Spain’s unique geographical position: “at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Latin America.” This strategic placement not only facilitates entry into diverse markets but also enables companies to establish robust international business connections. The time zone advantage is a cherry on top, allowing for efficient global coordination, which is vital in today’s interconnected business world.

Talent pool and quality of life

The availability of a skilled workforce is a crucial asset for any country aiming to attract business. Marín emphasises Spain’s strength in this regard, citing its “internationally renowned universities and specialised training centres.” This, coupled with Spain’s high quality of life, positions it as an attractive destination for both businesses and talented professionals from around the globe.

Economic stability predictions

Spain’s economic resilience, particularly in overcoming recent challenges, cannot be overstated. Marín points out that this stability creates “an enabling environment for companies seeking to grow and expand in a climate of certainty.” In an era marked by global economic volatility, this stability is a beacon for companies seeking a secure environment for their investments.

“Despite a challenging international environment, Spain’s foreign trade remains robust, particularly in exports, which have grown faster than those in neighbouring countries. In 2022, Spain ranked as the fourth largest exporter of agri-food and fisheries products in the European Union, trailing only the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Globally, it stood as the eighth largest exporter in this sector, with the top three being the United States, Brazil, and the Netherlands.”

Financial incentives available for investing in Spain

The country’s fiscal policies are strategically designed to attract investment. Marín notes the “various tax incentives and benefits to companies, including patent box, digital nomad incentives, holding companies and tax exemption on digital innovation” within the Spanish tax system. These incentives, along with accessible financing and attractive banking conditions, lower the barriers to entry for businesses and stimulate job creation, vital for any thriving economy.

Robust infrastructure and connectivity

Spain’s infrastructure plays a significant role in its business appeal. Marín underscores this, pointing to the country’s “modern infrastructure and efficient transport network.” From extensive road and motorway networks to advanced rail systems and strategic seaports, Spain offers seamless connectivity essential for business operations and logistics.

Spain in the European and global context

As a member of the European Union, Spain offers businesses key access to the single market and a network of international trade agreements. This access is invaluable for companies looking to expand within the EU or establish global operations. The significant foreign investment and dynamic foreign trade, particularly in the agri-food sector, underline Spain’s role as a pivotal player in the global economy.

Famatel: A family success

Famatel is one such success story of the rapidly growing Spanish economy. A Spanish multinational with a global presence experienced a rapid expansion. As a family business, Famatel needed flexible and adaptive support.

Kreston Iberaudit’s supported restructuring the group for optimal taxation, along with providing expert advice on Transfer Pricing and compliance with Spain’s tax obligations, underlines the critical support local expertise can offer in the complex arena of international business expansion.

Famatel’s satisfaction with Kreston Iberaudit, led to subsequent collaborations in other countries. Montse Duran, CFO at Famatel, attests to Kreston Iberaudit’s ability to “quickly detect and satisfy the needs” of Famatel in areas like accounting, tax, and finance, highlighting the importance of close attention and customised solutions in international business.’

If you would like to talk to one of our experts about doing business in Spain, please get in touch.