The most promising sectors for investors in Portugal are currently as follows.
Mining of lithium, tungsten, tin, uranium. iron ore, copper, zinc, silver, gold, marble, clay and gypsum has been attracting several investors.
Agriculture and associated industries (wine, olive oil, fruits, canned tomato, fresh vegetables and flowers, beet sugar, sunflower oil and tobacco) is expanding considerably and benefiting in the South of the country from the major Alqueva irrigation system, still being developed. Forests (mainly pine trees, cork trees, holmoaks and eucalyptus) cover about one third of the country. Portugal is the World’s leading producer of cork and cork products. The pulp and paper industry, processed wood products and furniture manufacturing are the other main industries associated with the forestry sector.
As regards fisheries and sea-related industries, Portugal has a large Exclusive Economic Zone (1,727, 408 sq km) and the fishing industry is significant, with local fishing by small traditional vessels accounting for the largest part of the total fleet but less than 10% of the total tonnage. The ship building and repair industry is increasing its export quota and some mid-sized shipyards may constitute interesting investment targets.
Other major industries include oil refining, petro-chemistry, cement, automotive, electrical and electronics products, machinery, injection moulding, plastic products, textiles, footwear, leather, ceramics, beverages and food processing. The automotive industry is a key sector and a major exporter and the country is a world leader in the making of precision moulds for the plastics industry. The development of equipment for clean energy production has been gaining momentum. The aerospace industry recently received a boost with an important investment by Brazil’s Embraer.
The Portuguese ICT market has an estimated turnover of EUR 18.5b and generates an added value of about EUR 5.7b. The sector has over 14,000 companies employing a total labour force of 79,000 people.
Around 40 Portuguese biotech companies are attracting international attention to innovative healthcare and medical products, foodstuffs and environmental engineering.
Tourism-related revenues represent over 10% of Portuguese GDP. Cheaper to live in and visit than most of western Europe, this small but diverse Iberian country, with sunny beaches, historic sites and some of Europe’s finest golf courses, has eked out considerable growth in tourist numbers and there is an enormous opportunity for Portugal to position itself for the time when international tourism gets back on track. There are currently several resorts and hotels up for sale.
The services sector accounts for 2/3 of Portuguese GDP and employs more than half of the working population. Portugal is included in the “third wave location trend” as a destination for shared services centres, with its qualified, multilingual and competitively priced workforce, a cost-competitive modern telecoms network and cut-rate real estate readily available.
As regards real estate, for one with a long term view, now is an excellent moment to invest in Portugal, due to the numerous opportunities to find property at bargain prices. The property market in Portugal is highly developed, has a high quality of supply in all sectors and a considerable presence of foreign occupiers.
The financial services and insurance sectors also present good investment opportunities for the investor with a long term view, having absorbed the greatest share of FDI in 2011 and in Q1-Q3 2012.