Production in the Spanish aerospace sector has been trending upwards in recent years (3.8% in 2004). In Catalonia, turnover has also been showing an upward trend, enabling the sector to consolidate.
Airplane components represent more than 75% of production in the Catalan aeronautics sector. Manufacturers, the majority of which are located in the Barcelona metropolitan area, can take advantage of synergies with the automotive component industry, which has a long tradition in Catalonia. The remainder of production is taken up by satellites and spacecraft. This special branch is gaining ground within the Catalan aeronautics sector, which was already a leader in the early days of Spanish aeronautics at the beginning of the 20th century, with companies like Elizalde and Hispano-Suiza.
The food and beverage sector is a strategic one for the European Union, where growth is holding steady at 2.6%. In Spain, it represents 20% of total industrial production. In Catalonia, it accounts for 17.5% of total turnover and 7.9% of Spanish GDP. The importance of the sector is reflected in the number of industries established in Catalonia (4,000 companies), which represent 22% of total production for the Spanish food and beverage sector and employ one fifth of all workers in the Spanish food industry.
For this reason, Catalonia offers significant food production and technology know-how and is the leader in ingredient suppliers and packaging and processing technology companies. The combination of these features has created an advanced food and beverage cluster in Catalonia.
The Spanish pharmaceuticals sector is primarily concentrated in Catalonia, with 50% of the laboratories in Spain, 60% of production and 66% of the companies that work in fine chemicals.
Additionally, the four major Spanish pharmaceutical laboratories (Almirall Prodesfarma, Esteve, Ferrer Internacional and Uriach) started in Catalonia and still have their headquarters in the autonomous community.
This tradition and dynamism has attracted significant international investment. As a result, Catalonia is home to seven of the ten major global pharmaceuticals groups: Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Sanofi Aventis, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche Group.
The more than 200 companies that make up the Catalan biotechnology sector have for the most part been created in the past five years. They have established themselves in Catalonia, attracted by the importance of the pharmaceutical, chemical and medical sectors, together with the fact that Catalonia has an important scientific base and significant infrastructure.
Catalonia, especially the Barcelona metropolitan area, is positioning itself as an attractive location for companies seeking to consolidate their back-office or front-office activities at a single center serving the entire EMEA region.
The significant availability of qualified human resources and the availability of new office developments (in both the center and the outskirts) with excellent transport links for employees and competitive operating costs, have helped more than 20 multinationals to decide to set up their shared services centers or customer service centers for EMEA in Catalonia. These include Agilent Technologies, SL, Avis, Sara Lee, Euroservices Bayer, Citigroup, Hewlett Packard, Computer Associates, CEI Network, WL Gore and Associates, Accenture and Colt Telecom.
The development of renewable energies (especially wind, hydraulic, solar and biomass) is a core aim of European Commission policy.
Catalonia has been a forerunner in the creation of companies which have shown a decided commitment to developing the renewable energies sector. One of the most significant examples is Ecotecnia.
This groundbreaking and innovative nature, together with the specific weight of renewable energies in Spain and Catalonia, has created a large domestic market for renewable energies with significant growth potential.
Of special note in terms of infrastructure is the Energy Park, which brings together educational institutions, R&D centers and companies from the sector in a 150,000 m2 area, as well as the ITER project, an international collaboration for the development of nuclear fusion.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) is a key sector for Barcelona and Catalonia. Not only does it represent an area which is economically "productive," but it also provides cross-sector technologies which can be applied to traditional, strategic and emerging sectors in Catalonia. More than 1,700 companies and 155 research agents make Catalonia one of the sector’s largest centers for innovation in Europe.
The structure of the sector is diversified, with small companies predominating (88.55%). Many of these are considered the most innovative and best equipped in Spain.
In terms of subsectors of ICT activities, telecommunications services, computing (especially software), and electronic and telecommunications equipment manufacturing carry the most weight. At the state level, Barcelona has specialized in consumer electronics: it is home to 63% of total production and is the top European manufacturer.
Last updated: 16|07|2015
The information on these pages was prepared by each autonomous community