Swiss and American SMEs

Feb. 2, 2014
SMEs from Switzerland and North America would gain by looking more closely at their untapped cross-atlantic opportunities.

In 2013  a total of 14 US companies acquired a Swiss company, the smallest disclosed transactions price being SFr.10million (Software).

On the other hand Swiss companies acquired stakes in 21 US companies during the same time period and the smallest disclosed transaction price being over SFr200million (Pharma/Analytics Segment).

According to the Swiss Federal Statistics, Switzerland has over 300’000 companies in the manufacturing sector. There is no denying though that majority of these are truly SME companies – maybe too small for being potential M&A candidates.

Switzerland and Swiss companies have a long history in working very internationally from very early on and Swiss companies are even more inclined to open direct channels in foreign markets than many other European counter parts.

Another small nation in Europe like Finland and its SMEs have a different view. Many SMEs in Finland do not invest into Russia, even if Putin is paying the bill. Germans and French companies are more likely to invest into Russia with government support. Finnish SME entrepreneurs are even very hesitant to go to Sweden.

One has to ask the question; how over optimistic Finnish SME owners are about the Finnish domestic market potential!

Particularly the Swiss SME owners have realized their limited domestic market potential long time ago and are willing to expand abroad as well as look for opportunities in partnering with foreign companies.

Switzerland has a very high education and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich is ranked among the top 10 technical universities in the world, the only European one! This also creates a lot university spin-offs, hence has a very active start-up environment.

Swiss SMEs like to develop technologically advanced products and are capable to bring them to market.  Nevertheless, for instance the US market remains for many SMEs a challenging market to enter.

In experience of Bellevue SME Advisors many Swiss SMEs would have definitely potential to expand to the US markets, some of them would even be interested to acquire or being acquired or considering another form of close co-operation.

Some of them have looked at the opportunities in US, but failed to enter due to lack of competence and resources in the US market. These companies wouldn’t mind to have a pull from their SME counterparts in North America.

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