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The current financial year is shaping up to be a good one for inward investment to the Highlands and Islands – including the Western Isles – according to Scotland’s development agency for the region.

Vicky Grant is head of international trade and investment at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and has posted a blog on the agency’s website.

In this she confirms that four projects have already been confirmed this year, representing combined investment of over £1.1m and expected to bring more than 65 jobs.

HIE also reports 50 or so enquiries from companies interested in the region as a location for new inward investment projects, nine of which are at an advanced stage of engagement, and a further 60 early-stage enquiries.

Vicky Grant said:“It probably goes without saying that investment from companies owned outside of Scotland is crucial in growing the economy of the Highlands and Islands.

“We only have to look at some of the previous projects led by many of the region’s largest employers to see the impact it can have.

“In recent years there’s BASF in the Outer Hebrides, Orbex in Moray, LifeScan in Inverness, and Webhelp in Argyll. These are all companies owned elsewhere but making significant investment in the region."

Earlier this year Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Industries announced plans to establish a subsea electric cable manufacturing plant in the Highlands. HIE is working with Scottish Development International and other partners to help secure this project, which could see £250m in new investment and create 150 new jobs.

Vicky Grant added:“It takes many months, often years, for inward investment projects to come to fruition but with interest at its current level, we can be optimistic about attracting many new projects in the years ahead.”