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Swiss firms fall behind in world rankings

Switzerland's biggest companies are failing to keep up with international competition. A new survey shows Swiss firms slipping down the rankings of the world's most highly regarded companies.

More than 700 company heads were questioned for the survey, which was published in Friday's edition of the "Financial Times Deutschland". On the basis of its findings, only two Swiss companies - the food giant Nestlé and the engineering group ABB - were listed among the top 50.

Although better placed than all other Swiss companies, Nestlé and ABB were considerably lower down the rankings than in previous years. Nestlé fell to 16th place from seventh place last year, while ABB plummeted to 31st spot from 18th place in 1999.

The decline of the big industrial concerns in the survey is counterbalanced by the rise of new economy firms. Five of the top 10 companies operate in the fields of electronics and information technology.

Switzerland's slide in the international rankings was also evident in the financial arena - an area in which it traditionally excels.

The banking group Credit Suisse fell four places to share 14th position with its rival, UBS, while the re-insurance group, Swiss Re, plunged 17 places to 20th spot.

Swiss managers fared no better than their companies and none made it into the top 30. General Electric director, Jack Welch, was named this year's top manager, ahead of Bill Gates of Microsoft and the IBM head, Lou Gerster.

swissinfo with agencies

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