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Swiss firms hold out hopes in US infrastructure upgrade

The $2 trillion (CHF1.89 trillion) infrastructure investment programme unveiled by Biden on Wednesday is intended to help improve the ailing national power grid, water systems, schools, bridges and road networks. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

US President Joe Biden’s major infrastructure plan is raising high hopes for Swiss firms in the construction and building industry. Although first contracts are expected to go to local firms, experts believe Swiss firms could score opportunities thanks to their specialisation and presence in the US market.

The $2 trillion (CHF1.89 trillion) infrastructure investment programme unveiled by Biden on Wednesday is intended to help improve the ailing national power grid, water systems, schools, bridges and road networks.

According to John Plassard from Mirabaud Bank in Geneva, US firms are expected to be the first in line to win contracts. However, Plassard told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA that Swiss companies were well-placed to be included as subcontractors.

The business umbrella organisation Economiesuisse is also optimistic. “The project not only increases demand for Swiss goods but also has an indirect impact,” said Jan Atteslander, head of foreign trade at Economiesuisse. Updating domestic infrastructure makes the US more competitive, which is also good for Swiss firms with a presence in the US, he added.

Niche expertise

Three-quarters of the financial analysts surveyed expect the Swiss economy to benefit from the US investment programme, according to a survey by Credit Suisse and the CFA Society Switzerland.

Björn Rosengren, CEO of Swiss-Swedish industrial giant ABB, is also positive about the planned investments. The modernisation of US infrastructure offers enormous potential for ABB, Rosengren told Keystone-SDA. The group already generates almost a quarter of its sales in the US.

Building materials giant LafargeHolcim, which also has a strong presence in North America, also sees positive growth prospects along with Swiss train manufacturer Stadler Rail and electricity meter specialist Landis+Gyr.

But Atteslander at Economiesuisse believes that not only large companies but also small and medium-sized firms could get a piece of the pie thanks to their expertise in niche areas.

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