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Australian company chooses Geneva as European hub

Geneva, Zurich and Zug are favoured locations for multinationals' headquarters

(swissinfo.ch)

The world's third largest grain company has selected Geneva as the base for its European operations.

The Australian company, AWB, announced on Tuesday it would begin operations in Europe at the end of July.

A company statement said Geneva was selected because of its "strategic position in Europe" and its proximity to Italy, one of AWB's expanding markets. The European headquarters will also manage the company's commercial operations in North Africa.

Authorities in canton Geneva welcomed the company's decision to base its European operations in the city, saying it was proof of the success of the economic incentives offered by the region.

"In Geneva, a company only needs ten days to get itself signed up on the company register, whereas in Zurich the time delay is more like four months," said Philippe Meyer, of canton Geneva's economic promotion division.

The Swiss office will be the fourth overseas bureau for the Melbourne-based cereals giant, which also has a presence in Tokyo, Cairo and Portland, Oregon.

Range of facilities

Meyer also points to the range of facilities on offer to canton Geneva's business community.

"We have a huge choice of international schools and this is one of our trump cards if you compare us with the rest of Switzerland and Europe," he said.

Authorities in Geneva claim that Zurich, considered to be one of Europe's most important financial and economic hubs, has lost out in the race to attract more international companies over the last decade.

Meyer puts Geneva's success in attracting foreign investment down to the hands-on approach of those charged with promoting the region.

"American companies have told us they were very impressed that they were able to meet Geneva's economics minister, Carlo Lamprecht, in person," Meyer says.

Meyer claims the presence in Geneva of numerous international organisations is also a major incentive for foreign companies looking to establish a presence in Europe.

"Take for example the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an organisation which coordinates global telecom networks and services," Meyer explains.

"By locating themselves in Geneva, companies active in the telecommunications sector can easily contact those in charge of the ITU if they have a message they need to get across," he adds.

swissinfo


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