The Brexit Effect

Increasing numbers of British companies are setting up new bases in Germany in order to maintain an all-important foothold in the European Union. There has been a surge in the number of companies wishing to extend trademarks and patents into the trade bloc.

October, 2020

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, a total of 630 British companies have established new operations in Germany. The number of companies from the UK expanding to Germany hit an all-time record of 185 in 2019.

“The uptick in investment from the UK began even before Brexit,” says Richard Todd, who leads GTAI’s Brexit service. “A major driver for companies investing in Germany is continuing market access to the entire EU.”

The Royal Exchange in the City of London, the UK’s financial center © Matteo Colombo/GettyImages

The largest UK investment in Germany in 2019 in terms of number of employees was by pharmaceutical firm BAP Pharma. The global company, which specializes in the clinical trial supply of comparator drugs, ­established a state-of-the-art facility in Höchstädt an der Donau in Bavaria last year, creating 200 jobs.

“Germany is the largest pharmaceuticals market in Europe and is home to many key players in the industry,” says BAP Pharma’s managing director Bashir Parkar. “We have seen an increase in business with German companies over the last few years, so one of the main drivers for us was access and proximity to suppliers and customers. The issue of Brexit and the uncertainty surrounding the future access to the European market accelerated our decision-making process. After we had paid an initial visit to the country and seen the opportunities available to us, the decision to set up there became a no-brainer.”

»The decision to set up [in Germany] became a no-brainer«

Bashir Parkar,
managing director of BAP Pharma

Another UK company, leading intellectual property law firm Boult Wade Tennant, established a new office in Berlin in 2019, followed by a new office in Frankfurt in 2020. The reason was to better serve companies that need to file patents and trademarks in the EU as well as the UK. “Germany overall is a very important market within the EU,” says Michael C. Maier, a partner at Boult Wade Tennant. “There’s a lot of innovation.”