Clutch of British and Portuguese companies shine at UK-Portugal Business Alliance Awards

 In Bi-lateral trade, International trade, Investment, News, Original

Twenty-five British and Portuguese companies were distinguished at the 14th edition of the UK-Portugal Business Awards on Friday organised by the Department for Business and Trade and the British Embassy’s UK-Portugal Business Alliance team in Lisbon.

Text and Photo: Chris Graeme

The awards were set up to pay tribute to Portuguese and British companies for outstanding contributions to bi-lateral business and trade between the two countries over the past year and celebrate a historic alliance marked by trade over the past 600 years.

At this edition 25 companies were given awards by the British Ambassador to Portugal, Lisa Bandari and the UK’s Commissioner for Trade in Europe, Chris Barton who is responsible for promoting trade, investment and commercial policies between the two nations.

Regarding investment in the UK over the past 12 months, the Department of Business and Trade (DBT) has supported various investment projects resulting in the establishment, acquisition, or participation in companies and capital investment worth around £237 million, creating 79 jobs in sectors such as health, renewables, aerospace, and foodstuffs with further commitments to investment worth £1.4Bn in energy and infrastructure projects.

These projects have benefitted from support services from teams at the British Embassy in Lisbon and in the UK, with a group of seven organisations winning awards. 

The Investment Expansion Award went to Symington Family Estates, EDP Renováveis, Greenvolt Group, Tekever, and also Vitacress with the Investment Expansion and Modernisation Award and Sword Health handed the International Expansion Award. The Global Entrepreneur Award went to Connected.

At this edition 18 UK companies operating in Portugal that are part of a wider group of organisations supported by DBT in Lisbon over the past year were distinguished, representing a total estimated trade worth €432 million (£368 million) in exports of goods and services in a wide array of sectors, as well as a total investment in Portugal of around €2.5Bn (£2.1Bn).

These Business Development Awards went to Aura Power Developments Portugal, Bonhams, Broadway Malyan, DAZN Portugal, Ebury, GSK Portugal, Hill & Knowlton, Leonardo, Lisarb Energy, Paysafe Group and Savills Portugal.

The Overseas Development and Business Development award went to Arrow Global Portugal, Claranet, and the NCC Group.

Also in the category of Overseas Direct Investment awards went to Ardonagh/MDS, Lightsource bp, Menzies Aviation and Savannah Resources plc.

The ceremony to deliver the awards this year counted on the presence of the Commissioner for Trade in Europe, Chris Barton (No relation to the CEO of the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Chris Barton who was also present and also does a stellar job promoting UK-Portugal trade), and the new British Ambassador to Portugal, Lisa Bandari whose delightful black Labrador weaved in and out of the guests and winners to say hello and enjoy the attention and the odd canapé!

“These awards are to recognise the dedication, innovation, hard work and the contribution these 25 companies have made towards the UK and Portugal business relationship,” said HMA Lisa Bandari adding that to give a sense of scale, the achievements of 18 British companies operating in Portugal were being highlighted, which have facilitated £488 million of transactions, and a global investment in Portugal totalling £2.6Bn — “a fantastic collective achievement”.

“In terms of Portuguese investment in the UK, we have about 12 projects, totalling £237 million and 79 jobs in sectors such as renewable energies, aerospace, space and digital health, and those investments are all over the UK in different parts and making a real difference to their local communities,” the ambassador added.

The Commissioner for Trade in Europe, Chris Barton said: “I an often asked which is my favourite European country and I can’t say it outside, but I can say it here: Portugal every time!”     

“I love the UK-Portugal collaboration and the long history that lies behind the two countries, the immense richness of the tapestry of cultural, economic, political and personal connections between our countries,” he said before highlighting the £12Bn of joint trade that grew by 18% in 2023 bringing trading figures back up to where they had been before Brexit, Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We look forward to the tremendous opportunities to see further growth, including in all the sectors  represented at these awards”.

Chris Barton also celebrated businesses and pointed out that all too often bi-lateral trade relations got lost in GDP figures and said it was worth taking a moment to reflect on what it means for the Portuguese and UK businesses doing business in each other’s countries. 

“I means people getting jobs, it means you’re driving economic growth, and that we have higher levels of public services in health, education, and that the partnership between the UK and Portugal is strengthened, and that individual people have security for their jobs and can provide for their families.”

And added: “I believe passionately that business is a force for good”. Third, Chris Barton congratulated the British Embassy team in Lisbon, particularly those in its department for Business and Trade. “They work tirelessly day in and day out to help companies such as those present to invest and buy in each others countries and I think that is worth celebrating.”