The 2011 "EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard" collects information on the top 1000 EU companies and 1000 non-EU companies investing the largest sums in R&D in the last reporting year. The Scoreboard includes data on R&D investment along with other economic and financial data from the last four financial years.
The data for the Scoreboard are taken from the companies' latest published accounts, intented to be their fiscal year 2010 accounts (although due to different accounting practices, it includes accounts ending on a range of dates, from late 2009 to early 2011).
In the last year's Scoreboard companies' results showed the big effect of the great recession/financial crisis that started in 2008.
In this Scoreboard edition, companies show considerable signs of recovery, e.g. with a significant increase in R&D investment and double-digit increases in sales, operating profits, and market valuation of companies.
However, companies have still to deal with a complex economic environment. In particular, two big economic issues create pressure for companies: national debt levels (which feed back into the banks and limit their lending to companies and hence affect company expansion plans) and the low growth rates being seen in developed economies which can limit the sales growth of many companies, particularly those selling more standard products.
In this context, the efforts made by many Scoreboard companies to increase R&D investment appear especially remarkable and emphasise the role R&D plays for companies to enhance their product ranges and hence create and sustain competitive advantages. R&D-based competitive advantage can yield higher value added and higher growth rates.
The analysis in this report concentrates on the main trends of companies' R&D activities and results. The focus is on the evolution of R&D investments across regions and industries and its comparison with companies' parameters such as net sales, profits, market capitalisation and capital expenditures.