Bridge at the heart of Europe: with a balanced blend of the urbane and pastoral charm, the Canton of Fribourg links French- and German-speakers, historic legacy and contemporary culture.

AuteurMeen, Elizabeth
Fonction CANTON PROFILE

In a little more than a decade the canton has experienced remarkable growth, doubling exports and drawing a number of multinational companies. Fribourg's economy is now powered by pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, life sciences, the food industry, information technology, telecommunications, engineering, and--like much of Switzerland--financial services.

Many well known companies are based here including Bayer (Germany), Cartier Richemont (France), Bulova (US), Michelin (France), Tetrapak (Sweden), Tupperware (US), Wella P&G (US), etc. Fribourg also boasts the 2005 Swiss entrepreneur of the year, Peter Heimlicher, who, as CEO of sensor developer Contrinex, was Ernst & Young's top pick "for outstanding strategic thinking" in the high-tech industry category.

Experience shows that foreign companies are often attracted by lower communal and cantonal taxes, and then convinced to establish their business in Fribourg because of the many superb business conditions the canton offers.

Tax relief welcomed

Fribourg's business tax rates are among the lowest in Switzerland and the cantonal parliament just eased individual taxes by four per cent. Last summer the parliament also scaled up money-saving tax deductions for children. An overall strategy to ease tax burdens in the canton has been underway since 2001, says the Fribourg Development Agency.

Qualifying companies can get up to a total tax holiday (zero per cent tax) on communal, cantonal and federal levels, which is applied on both profit and capital for up to ten years depending on the economic importance of the project. In addition, the canton can provide further financial incentives to help companies start their business.

Those who make the decision to move to Fribourg, give a variety of reasons.

Michelin's man

Michelin Chief Financial Officer Michel Rollier says the decision to relocate to Givisiez in Fribourg in 1990 was about location, transportation and communication.

"Givisiez was a preferable location from which to cover the entire Swiss market," Rollier says, referring to convenient access to Geneva, Basel and Zurich.

"Givisiez is also situated in a bilingual border region offering wide scope for recruitment of bilingual staff (French and German). Another advantage was the strong network of delivery routes," highways and railroads.

Attracting the best

UCB Farchim, part of the Belgian biopharmaceutical group UCB, required much from a host city. The facility and environs had to attract the...

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