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Types of Swiss Companies

Updated on Monday 23rd November 2020

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Businesses in Switzerland

A country that can offer a wide range of investment opportunities for foreign businessmen is Switzerland. Foreign businessmen can set up one of the legal entities available under the local legislation, which are created to assist the needs of those wishing to start a small and medium-sized company or for businessmen who want to register a large corporation in this country. 
 
When opening a company in Switzerland, one of the most important decisions related to this aspect is choosing the most suitable legal entity. Our team of consultants in company formation in Switzerland can provide an extensive presentation on the all the business forms that foreign investors can register here, as well advice as on the advantages available for each company type. We can also advise on how to use the EORI number in Switzerland, for entities engaged in trading activities. 
 
The business forms that can be registered in Switzerland can be found in other European countries, but they can also be established in jurisdictions located on other continents; for example, the company types available in Switzerland can also be found in Hong Kong. Furthermore, if you need company formation services in Norway, Hong KongThailand or Cuba, our partners are at your disposal. Clients who need legal consultancy or representation in Denmark can receive help from our Danish lawyers.
 
 
Our specialists in Swiss company formation have made a short presentation on the types of companies that can be incorporated in Switzerland
 

 

What are the main Swiss company types?

 
From all the Swiss company types, one of the most common ways to start a business here is by registering a limited liability company or a joint stock company. Other business forms favor foreign companies that want to open an office and expand to the Swiss market or investors who want to open their individual business.
 
Businessmen who want to open a company in Switzerland as a small and medium-sized company can select the limited liability company; one of the characteristics of this structure is that its shares can’t be listed on the Swiss stock exchange. The company’s founders are named shareholders and their names have to be mentioned in the company’s statutory documents. 
 
Furthermore, their names have to be made public with the Swiss Commercial Register. In order to register this business form, one of the requirements for company formation in Switzerland is to deposit the minimum share capital; in the case of this structure, the minimum share capital is established at CHF 20,000.  
 
 
The corporation (AG or SA) is suitable for all business needs and its simple requirements for the transfer of shares makes it a widely used business form. The company’s founders have the quality of shareholders as well, but in their case, their identity does not have to be made public. The Swiss corporation (or public limited company) is characterized by the following:
 
  • it can be founded by a single shareholder and a single director;
  • the company’s shareholder and the director can be represented by the same person;
  • although foreigners can register this business form, it is legally required to have at least a shareholder who is a resident of this country;
  • the incorporation costs associated with this legal structure can reach CHF 7,000;
  • it can be the ideal business structure for those interested in an easy process regarding the transfer of the company’s shares. 
 
 
The corporation requires a larger minimum share capital than the limited liability company (minimum CHF 100,000 with at least 50% paid at the time of the incorporation). Our consultants can help you open any type of company in Switzerland. We can also help you in case you need an accountant in Switzerland for your business.  Partnerships in Switzerland can be simple, general or limited. General partnerships are commonly used by small family businesses who carry out commercial activities. The limited partnership bears many similarities with the general type, however, the activities undertaken by the business partners do not need to be commercial.
 
Branches in Switzerland are suitable for foreign companies abroad that want to expand on the Swiss market. Individuals who want to run a business on their own can form a sole proprietorship. In case you intend to invest in Switzerland by starting a business here, our company registration agents in Switzerland can give you further details about the requirements for each business type.
 

Who can register a Swiss sole trader?

 
The Swiss sole trader is the simplest way to carry a business activity in Switzerland; this business form is available in other European countries as well and its purpose is to provide a legal framework for persons who want to start their own business activities. It can only be registered by a single person, who must be a natural person. Businessmen who want to open a company in Switzerland as a sole trader must consider the next aspects: 
 
  • the Swiss sole trader does not have a legal personality; 
  • thus, there is no legal distinction between the founder and the company;
  • the sole trader can be registered without depositing a share capital (there are no requirements set out in this sense);
  • foreigners can register a sole trader as well, but they need to have their domicile in Switzerland;
  • as a foreigner, it is not necessary to have the Swiss residency in order to register this structure. 
 
In the case in which the sole trader becomes a developed business, the owner has the possibility of changing the legal structure of the company and it is advised if this happens, considering that there is no legal distinction between the founder and the sole trader (which means that the owner is responsible with his or her personal assets for any debts that the business may have). 
 
Our team of specialists in Swiss company formation can represent investors in the formalities regarding the modification of the legal structure of a business registered in Switzerland. In this particular case, the most advisable option is to change the sole trader into a limited liability company. It is also important to know that if the owner wants to close down the sole trader, the structure benefits from the simplest liquidation procedure, considering that it has a simple structure and few requirements regarding its accounting system.  
 

What are the characteristics of Swiss businesses? 

 
Data on Swiss companies is collected by the Federal Statistical Office. The Swiss business environment is basically represented by small and medium-sized companies, but large corporations are also important for the local business market. Our team of consultants in company formation in Switzerland can assist businessmen in presenting all the legal requirements addressed for each business form. Investors should that the Swiss business environment has the following characteristics: 
 
  • at the level of 2015, 99% of all the Swiss companies were represented by small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • the highest rate of micro-enterprises (employing less than 10 employees) can be found in the services sector (90,7% of all the companies registered in this economic field);
  • at the level of 2016, Switzerland registered 39,125 new companies;
  • even though large companies in Switzerland are fewer compared to micro-companies, they have the highest employment rate, employing 1,423,601 employees;
  • the total number of Swiss employees hired by micro-enterprises is of 1,156,807;
  • the country has a total of 25,000 foreign and Swiss multinationals;
  • 14,000 of the multinational companies operating here are incorporated by Swiss businessmen
 
The total number of foreign subsidiaries operating in Switzerland is of 11,500, most of them being set up by foreign investors from countries such as France, Germany or the United States of America; our team of specialists in company registration in Switzerland can provide legal representation to those who want to enter the local market through a subsidiary or a branch office.  
 

Invest in Switzerland

 
When it comes to opening a company in Switzerland, investors should know that this jurisdiction is a country with many business advantages. A good geographical location, excellent infrastructure and highly qualified workforce, as well as its cultural diversity are just some of the reasons why foreign investors choose the beautiful country.
 
Companies activate in essentially any business field and the country is not only attractive as a business destination. The high quality of living makes many investors decide to remain in the country. If you would like to know more about business opportunities in the country and the company law, you can contact our company registration consultants in Switzerland.

 

Meet us in Zug

Paul Gheorghiu is one of our experienced company formation agents. He will help you register your company in Switzerland as fast as possible.
   
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Call us now at  +41 41 266 0070   to set up an appointment with our experts in Zug, Switzerland. As a Sig Fiduciaire client, you will beneficiate from the expertise of our local consultants for opening a company in Switzerland.
 

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