News in brief: dance, climate, Chinese bank, meds

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Swiss news stories in brief: Geneva hosting first round of talks for new climate deal This is a week of intense climate talks in Geneva, with the first round of talks since Lima in December 2014, where a 39-page document was established with the main lines that should be included in a […]

High Swiss franc fallout hits insurer

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The high Swiss franc isn’t just a business problem for exporters, the head of La Mobilière, a cooperative insurance company, told Le Matin Dimanche in an interview published 8 February. Markus Hongler says, “Our balance sheet is CHF17 billion. In the past we had revenues from our Swiss Confederation bonds, 2-3%, but […]

SwissLeaks, naming names


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / EDITOR’S NOTEPAD – The nastiest surprise for Swiss banks in some months is waking up to what has been labeled “SwissLeaks” by a group of 140 journalists working for 55 media around the world. The “Swiss” bank at the centre of the joint investigative journalism project is the Swiss subsidiary of HSBC, […]

7 years of a whiter car fleet


Drop in vehicle registrations in Switzerland BERN, SWITZERLAND – The number of vehicle registrations in Switzerland fell in 2014, by 1.4 percent, to 396,588 new vehicles on the books. The overall “stock of road motor vehicles further increased, however, and reached a total of almost 5.8 million vehicles”, according to the federal statistics office in […]

Swatch, ABB, Swisscom – lackluster 2014

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Companies are worried about 2015 profits, with the high Swiss franc, but exchange rates were already having an impact on profits in 2014, year-end results published 5 February are showing. Swatch, while showing a profit of CHF1.42 billion, nevertheless saw this fall by more than 26 percent compared to a year earlier […]

Windows rated for energy efficiency

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – First it was cars, now it’s windows: as of January 2015 you can check the energy efficiency level of the new windows for your home thanks to a new Swiss rating system. Like the systems for cars, and using a similar graphics system, windows are rated A-F for their ability to insulate […]

J Baer lays off 200, Swiss still no. 1 wealth managers

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – The world of global wealth management is changing, not least because of governments’ growing efforts to track and tax the internationally mobile wealthy. With that backdrop, Bank Julius Baer in Zurich announced in the same breath this week that it saw strong profits in 2014, but that it will end 200 jobs. […]

Swiss central bank cautious over profit

Cantons, Bern, to get fraction of potential 2014 profit – for now ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Much ado was made in early January of the projected 2014 profits of the Swiss National Bank and how Swiss federal and cantonal governments (who are like shareholders) might expect a huge windfall in 2015. January 30 the central bank […]

Basel airport agreement reached


French, Swiss sign deal in Davos BASEL, SWITZERLAND – Basel airport will remain in full service, following an agreement between France and Switzerland. The airport, which is an important centre for airline easyJet, had been at the centre of a dispute between the two countries. The new agreement calls for international operators to be taxed […]

Swiss franc: Migros lowers euro veg, fruit prices


Largest supermarket calls on suppliers to cut prices GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Migros, the country’s largest supermarket chain, said Friday 23 January that it is lowering prices for fruits and vegetables that come from the euro zone, by 10 to 30 percent. It called on its suppliers to immediately adapt their prices to reflect the weaker […]