Land of milk and honey
Investors have taken a more cautious approach to investing in foreign countries since the recession but forecasts indicate a return to pre-crisis figures by 2016. Location has become increasingly important to compete in today’s global market, since access to customers, a skilled workforce, modern infrastructure and liberal tax incentives can make or break a business. Switzerland, situated between some of the largest economies in Europe, with above-average margins, high price stability and low inflation rates, has become a magnet for foreign companies and international organisations to set up base.
While it is not a member of the EU – a referendum in 2001 went against opening talks on joining – it has a free trade agreement in place and Switzerland is the EU’s 4th largest trading partner, while the EU is Switzerland’s largest. Switzerland is one of the world’s richest and most investment-friendly countries and it ranks 20th out of 189 in the World Bank 2015 Doing Business classification and the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 2014-2015 reported that Switzerland is the most competitive economy in the world. Recognised for its risk-averse population, strong global currency, sound public finances, attractive tax environment and purchase power stability, Switzerland lays claim to a reputable and reliable investment climate. The informal adoption of English as a fifth language facilitates the integration of foreign firms into the Swiss business environment.
The country’s 26 cantons are vying for your business and provide companies with a wide range of opportunities, and although each region has its own unique appeal, all have business friendly tax regimes and legal structures that make Switzerland one of the most competitive business locations worldwide. Its expertise and proficiency in R&D has attracted many companies leading to the establishment of several engineering and medical technology clusters and it has the highest per capita IT spending in the world, transforming Switzerland into a knowledge-based economy.
Companies are always in search of established and cost-effective places to carry out business and the Credit Suisse Locational Quality Indicator ranks the canton of Aargau as the third most attractive business location in Switzerland. Positioned between Zurich, Basle, and Berne, Aargau, is the number one location for energy and electrical engineering, medical devices, nanotechnology and plastics. Other key sectors include the life sciences industry, pharmaceutical and information and communication technology. This canton is full of cutting-edge technology, offers a comprehensive economic system, provides political stability and has low property prices and taxes, all which facilitate a long-term, lucrative investment. It is home to 30,000 businesses that are currently enjoying the fruits of this location, benefiting from the short distances to both customers and partners as well as from internationally experienced logistics providers.
The renowned rating agency Standard & Poors gave Aargau a “Triple A”, the best rating for business locations. Aargau offers substantial business taxation relief and with salaries in Aargau approximately 10% lower than in neighbouring areas, you will get more manpower for your money. With the backing of both government and private industry, Aargau actively encourages inbound investment by providing a flexible package of tailored services and the canton displays a convincing, optimistic outlook for solid economic growth. Numerous cantons have had to terminate planned tax cuts but Aargau, in contrast, has announced the introduction of new procedures to support businesses and their employees.
Many European, American and Japanese companies trust Aargau’s research expertise and business know-how. Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business and is located in the capital city Aarau citing productivity and flexibility as key advantages of the region. The company benefits from highly qualified employees, thanks to its close proximity to the Universities of Applied Sciences and the ETH in Zurich. It is not only European firms that have their global headquarters in Aargau, many US companies have invested there too.
AppRiver was founded in April 2002 with its headquarters in Florida, USA. A worldwide leader in email and web security, AppRiver maintains multiple secure and world-class data centres throughout the US, Europe and Asia, protecting over 47,000 corporate customers and eight and half million mailboxes around the world. AppRiver, providing dependable IT security for European business, opened its EMEA headquarters in Lupfig, Switzerland in 2012, demonstrating Aargau’s excellence for research and innovation. This international company is a great match for the technologically driven corporate landscape of Aargau.
Novartis, recognising Aargau’s potential invested CHF 500 million in their Fricktal manufacturing plant creating one of the largest pharmaceutical production sites worldwide and ABB announced plans to expand its research laboratory to develop the next generation of power semiconductors with an 18 million Swiss franc facility in Dattwil, Aargau. Several companies located here gain knowledge from, and collaborate with each other to grow and develop. With the Hightech Aargau scheme, we will see an additional increase in value creation, attracting even.more international companies to the region
Location decisions, once made, are often problematic and expensive to undo. The cost of moving a business is surprising and runs the danger of disrupting customers and employees. It is always best to get the location decision right first time. Aargau offers an attractive and safe environment for your investment and is equipped with enterprise-friendly authorities who will support and back your business. The cantonal economic promotion agency, Aargau Services Economic Promotion, assists and advises companies around relocation, formation and financing in Aargau.
Hightech Aargau: Switzerland is the birthplace of industrially manufactured medical technology products and with competition from 25 other cantons, Aargau, with its strong industrial track record, differentiates itself as a high-tech region. Many Aargauer companies are leaders in terms of high technology and the canton intends to use this strength to its full advantage. Aargau is home to recognised Swiss research and educational institutions including the Paul Scherrer Institute, University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). The government launched Hightech Aargau to increase the performance and competitiveness of businesses in Aargau and protect the cantons position as a globally competitive business and research centre, boosting development and growth within the region. Businesses will profit from the endorsement of innovation and technology transfer and the canton of Aargau, already a well-established player, aims to become the leading hub and role model for high-tech innovation and development in Switzerland.