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R&D spending makes strong gains

Spending on research and development among Swiss companies has climbed 20 per cent to $20.9 billion (SFr24.1 billion), according to a strategy consulting firm.

A statement released on Tuesday by management consultants Booz & Company said surveyed companies allocated 7.9 per cent of total sales for R&D expenditures, up from 7.3 per cent over the previous year.

Basel-based pharmaceutical firm Roche led Switzerland's strong performance, placing 8th and increasing spending by 16 per cent to $6.9 billion. Rival Novartis ranked 11th and the food giant Nestlé placed 75th.

"Swiss industry is reinforcing the conviction that investing in innovation is of enormous importance for the long-term success of companies," said Carlos Ammann, Booz & Company's managing director in Zurich.

Worldwide, R&D spending grew ten per cent, while in Europe it grew 12 per cent. China and India posted 22 per cent increases.

Booz & Company said that the downturn in global markets could curtail spending but noted that countercyclical investment in R&D usually paid off.

The consultancy said that 90 per cent of 1,000 top companies surveyed pursued research outside their own home countries.

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