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Industrial woes Stagnant manufacturers plan eurozone relocation

Hearing aid manufacturer Sonova is one Swiss firm that has moved parts of its production abroad.


A growing number of Swiss industrial exporters plan to move all, or parts, of their production facilities to neighbouring countries to avoid the crippling effects of the franc-euro exchange rate, a recent survey shows.

Consultancy firm Deloitte and economic forecasters BAK Basel found that a quarter of the 393 companies surveyed are planning some form of relocation to the eurozone. Some 22% of firms had already boosted eurozone-based production since the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned its defence of the franc in January.

A further 22% of firms plan to escape from the strong franc margin-eating trap by acquiring new companies abroad to diversify their portfolios of production sites and manufactured goods.

Nine out of 10 firms surveyed by Deloitte and BAK Basel said that business prospects in the next 12 months looked negative.

"The whole manufacturing industry is currently moving sideways,” BAK Basel executive Michael Grass said. “To maintain international competitiveness going forward, Swiss manufacturers must pursue the ‘right’ long-term growth strategies.”

The report recommends a six-point recovery plan for embattled Swiss manufacturing exporters.

This includes finding new markets and customers, buying out smaller competitors in interesting foreign markets and investing in new technologies and digitalization.

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