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Despite a generally unfavorable global foreign direct investment (FDI) climate Switzerland in 2009 scored a total of 37 expanded or new investments from North America and a significant number from elsewhere reports Mario Brossi, North American Senior Advisor for Switzerland Trade and Investment Promotion. In addition 5 North American firms completed acquisitions of Swiss companies.
“These numbers are on a level of our 2008 performance,” Brossi says. “We believe FDI declines may have bottomed out, suggesting a more positive long-term trend for FDI activity in general.”
Expansions are the greatest testimonial to a country’s attractiveness as an FDI destination, Brossi believes. “Over the years the ‘Swiss experience’ has resulted in expansions by many existing investors,” he says. “This year the roster is comprised of Baxter International, Bombardier, Edwards Life Sciences, McDonald’s Europe, Medtronic, Microsoft, RBC Capital Markets and Tyco Electronics. These most assuredly are well-recognized names on the international business scene,” he comments.
Under the new investments category for 2009 Switzerland was the destination for North American companies establishing 6 international headquarters, 5 European headquarters, 1 EMEA headquarters, and 18 regional offices.
“Investments from elsewhere also fall under these classifications,” Brossi explains.
“For 2009 the list of companies is headed by The Economist moving its international headquarters from London to Geneva and BASF relocating its European business unit for plastic additives and the global units for technology management, along with the restructured pigment business to the former headquarters of Ciba Holding in Basel.” Other origins of FDI into Switzerland during 2009 include Bulgaria, China, Finland, Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Sweden, and Venezuela.
Acquisitions by North American firms during the year:
- Alcon’s purchase of ESBATech AG
- Beacon Enterprise Solutions Group’s purchase of SymbioTech Solution AG
- Eaton Corporation’s purchase of the remaining 50% stake in Micro Innovation Holding AG
- SunGuard’s acquisition of Genix Systems AG
- 3M’s acquisition of Ligacon AG
“Switzerland’s position as a favored FDI destination is due to many factors that are important to existing and potential investors,” Mr. Brossi comments. “Among these are its 1st place ranking in the 2009-2010 Global Competitiveness Report and 3rd in Europe in the 2008-2009 Global Information Technology report, both published by the World Economic Forum. In the 2009 World Competitiveness Yearbook published by the Institute for Management Development, Switzerland retains its 1st place ranking in Europe among the world’s 57 most competitive countries. It also scored 1st in Europe in the Cato Institute Economic Freedom of the World 2009 Annual Report ranking 141 countries on a range of factors in five broad areas.”