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Company bankruptcies fell sharply in Switzerland in 2020

© Sylvain Robin |

Despite the economic impacts of the coronavirus, significantly fewer Swiss companies went bankrupt in 2020 than the year before, according to the business data company Bisnode.

During 2020, 3,811 Swiss companies filed for bankruptcy, 19% fewer than in 2019. Sectors that experienced the greatest fall in bankruptcies include artisans (-174 bankruptcies), hotels and restaurants (-124), retailers (-68) and wholesalers (-66).

The slowdown in company failures occurred fairly evenly across Switzerland. Rates were lower in the Mittelland (-25%), western Switzerland (-22%), eastern Switzerland (-22%), Ticino (-23%) and Zurich (-18%).

In addition, the number of new companies created rose in 2020. 46,779 new companies were created in Switzerland in 2020, 5% more than in 2019.

Because of the crisis we expected a sharp rise in company bankruptcies, but public financial support has created the opposite effect, said analysts at Bisnode.

On the surface the picture appears positive. However, public aid might have created numerous zombie companies, according to Bisnode. These are companies that would normally be bankrupt but have instead been kept going because of public financial injections. Eventually, they are likely to run into liquidity problems and fail, said the company.

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