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More firms founded in 2008 but downturn likely

A record number of new firms were founded in Switzerland in 2008 despite the sharp economic downturn that marked the final quarter of the year.

In a yearly report released on Tuesday, Creditreform, the country's association of creditors, noted that 36,861 new firms were registered in Switzerland in 2008. During that time 21,254 firms were dissolved, a ten-year low.

That means Switzerland made a net gain of 15,607 new firms, up 13.3 per cent from 2007.

Eastern Switzerland and Zurich attracted the largest increase in new firms, while Bern and northwestern Switzerland showed a decline.

While 4,221 companies declared bankruptcy in 2008 - down 2.2 per cent from 2007 - Creditreform said 2009 could be rough.

The association estimates the recession could cause 5,800 bankruptcies by the end of 2011, with more than half of them among companies less than five years old.

During the previous recession, the number of bankruptcies from 2002 to 2004 increased by 37 per cent compared with 2001. Creditreform said the current recession could produce similar results.

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