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Company formation in Switzerland in 2018

The success of the Swiss economy is based on a higher-value production and a highly skilled workforce. Top industry sectors include nanotechnology, biotechnology, banks and insurance, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Most of the workforce is working in the tertiary sector and small and medium companies.

Switzerland does not have mineral resources and has a small area. Its well-known prosperity is dependent on its external trade. The small size of its domestic market, with a population of just 7.8 million, has stimulated Swiss manufacturers to move outward.

They need international markets to be able to profit from their investments in production, research and development. Considered to be one of the most “internationalized” economies (one out of two francs is obtained from exports), Switzerland is part of the group of the select group of the most developed countries in the world.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Switzerland has remained one of the most attractive business locations over the last years and all estimates ensure that it is one of the best European locations to start a company.

Regarding company formation in Switzerland, for the year of 2018, most foreign entrepreneurs will be interested in registering a Swiss company that has the legal structure of a private limited company (GmbH) or a public limited company (AG).

Company formation in Switzerland – the Swiss GmbH

The Swiss GmbH has the legal structure of a private limited liability company that can be founded by one or more individuals and / or companies. It doesn’t matter if the company’s founder is a Swiss resident or not. The required minimum share capital is relatively low – 20,000 CHF and the company is liable only to the extent of the amount of the fully deposited share capital.

The necessary documents for company formation in Switzerland for a GmbH are identification documents of the founder or founders, a proof of residence that is no older than 3 months (any type of utilities bill will due), a bank statement, a business plan and the Articles of Association for the new company.

All GmbHs must have the GmbH ending attached to the company name. It is also required to have a registered office in Switzerland for the new company and a bank account opened with a Swiss bank to deposit the share capital. After the registration process of the company is completed, the bank account used to deposit the share capital will be used as a business bank account.

Even though the company founder can be a foreign citizen, the Swiss GmbH requires a local representative that is a Swiss resident. This person must represent the company in front of authorities, clients, business partners and act as a contact point for all of the above.

Company formation in Switzerland – the AG

Another legal structure that is often used in Switzerland is the AG (short for Aktiengesellschaft), a type if company that is similar to a corporation and can be used for various business purposes, including by multinational companies.

This type of Swiss company can be formed by at least one person or legal entity and it requires a minimum share capital of 100,000 CHF, from which at least 20% or minimum 50,000 CHF must be paid up front. The content of the company’s statue is stipulated by the Swiss law in many areas and it doesn’t have the same type of flexibility as the GmbH.

One important request regarding AG company formation in Switzerland is the fact that 50% of the directors from the board must be Swiss citizens or EU citizens that are residents of Switzerland.

Whichever type of legal structure is used for company formation in Switzerland, the fastest and easiest way to incorporate is to acquire help from a firm specialized in Swiss company registration. In many cases where it is necessary, the firm can also provide Swiss company directors, company secretaries, accountants and auditors.