Types of Businesses in Switzerland

There are many kinds of business entities in Switzerland...

In Switzerland there are two basic types of business formation - partnerships and capital companies. Both of these basic types offer various legal entities to choose from according to the needs of the business.

In a partnership, each partner is a manager and personally liable for the obligations of the enterprise.

In corporations the liability is limited to the legal entity. Hence, the owners are not personally liable for the obligations of the company, and the company has a defined management and governance structure (managers, board of directors, shareholders' or quotaholders' meetings).

According to Swiss law, the following forms of business organisation are possible:

Partnerships:

  • Simple Partnership: (einfache Gesellschaft - Société simple)
  • General Partnership: (Kollektivgesellschaft - Société en nom collectif)
  • Limited Partnership: (Kommanditgesellschaft - Société en commandite)
  • Cooperative: (Genossenschaft - Société coopérative)

Capital companies:

  • Corporation: Aktiengesellschaft (AG )- Société Anonyme (SA)
  • Corporation with Unlimited Partners: Kommanditaktiengesellschaft - Société en commandite
  • Limited Liability Company: (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH) - Société à Responsabilité Limitée (SARL)

In practice, capital companies are organised either as corporations or as limited liability companies.

Information supplied by Dr. Michael A Meer, Attorney at Law, LL.M. GHR Rechtsanwaelte AG, Bern / Zürich. Tel: +41 (0)58 356 5050, e-mail / web: www.ghr.ch Copyright © 2009 GHR Rechtsanwälte AG. All Rights Reserved