Cantonal government unconcerned about survey


The latest report from the Orell Füssli Economic Information AG company (OFWI) published in the Sunday edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung has revealed which companies are moving from which cantons and to which ones they are heading. What is interesting for the canton of Zug in this respect is that last year as many as 163 companies left to move to another canton and so far this year 184 companies have left. However, the Cantonal Department of Economic Development (VDKZ) is unconcerned about what appears to be worrying statistics.
 
And to which cantons are many companies moving? Lucerne. No fewer than 211 firms moved there last year and the number this year is 147. The OFWI company said caution needed to be exercised with regard to the statistics as no indication of their size was given. "They merely indicate some form of trend," it said.
 
Indeed, Mathias Michel, who heads the VDKZ, was unperturbed on reading the statistics and explained, "These statistics only include a small number of company movements. Looking at the whole picture, we continue to attract as many as 2,000 new companies to come here every year."
 
He explained that while some larger companies such as Wascosa or Medela have moved away, many firms doing so were much smaller. "What is more significant for us is not merely the numbers of companies registered here but how many employees they have and what amount of tax they pay, aspects which are not mentioned in the OFWI report at all. Let us remember that within the time period of this report Novartis moved from Bern to Zug, and other companies here already, such as Roche, Siemens and Johnson & Johnson, have greatly increased their number of employees. Although some companies have moved away, any reduction in tax revenue is negligible," he explained.
 
Peter Uebelhart, head of fiscal advice at KMPG, said in the newspaper report that Zurich and Zug continued to be very attractive, and Walter Stalder, the director of the Lucerne Cantonal Department of Business Promotion, said that although low corporation taxes were an important factor for a company in choosing where to locate itself, this was not always the decisive factor. "Companies opt for Lucerne because we have a good basic infrastructure, a highly qualified workforce, space which is affordable and pleasant surroundings. Unlike Zug, we have plenty of land on which to build. Indeed, it because such firms formerly in Zug, such as the Aeschbacher Chocolatier (see the recent Panorama article) and the Medela medical technology company,  wanted to expand that they actually uprooted themselves to Lucerne near the A4 motorway," he explained.
 
In its response to the survey, the Zug Chamber of Economics (ZWK) said that what was clear was that with Lucerne's improved motorway links to Zurich and the lowering of corporation tax there, the overall "Lucerne package" had become more attractive. "However, Zug has by far the highest quality of location of all Swiss cantons" insisted Tanja Süssmeier, head of the ZWK. "Indeed this has been substantiated by the latest studies from Credit Suisse and UBS," she said. "The number of companies moving away is quite normal. What needs to be remembered is that we in Zug have as many as 40% more companies registered than Lucerne."      
 


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