This article is based on the research process for our list of the largest companies in Switzerland. The list includes contact details, fields of activities, revenues (if publicly available) and many more valuable data points.
Due to its central location in Central and Western Europe, Basel has always been an outstanding business location and is considered an important center for the chemical-pharmaceutical industry worldwide. This is also reflected in the 3 largest companies in Basel:
1) F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG
F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG is the main operating company of the Roche Group. Roche is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Roche’s business is divided into two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. In Pharmaceuticals, Roche is a leader primarily in oncology, with other important areas including autoimmune diseases, neuroscience, viral diseases and transplantation. In Diagnostics, Roche holds a leading global position in in vitro diagnostics. The group generated sales of CHF 63.3 billion in 2022 and employed more than 101,000 people. The largest shareholder in Roche is a pool of descendants of the company’s founder Fritz Hoffmann.
2) Novartis AG
The two Basel-based chemical and pharmaceutical groups Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz merged in 1996 to form the new pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant Novartis. With the merger, the business was also reorganized. Pharmaceuticals and vaccines now form the core Novartis business (including medicines related to cardiovascular diseases, blood disorders, cancer, immune disorders, neuro-diseases, ophthalmology and asthma). Following the merger, the generics business was also initially expanded under the umbrella of the newly formed Sandoz subgroup. This business is to be spun off shortly in an IPO. The group had nearly 102,000 employees in 2022 and total sales of $50.5 billion.
3) Coop Genossenschaft
Coop Genossenschaft is one of Switzerland’s largest retailers and wholesalers. In the second half of the 19th century, consumer associations emerged in Switzerland on a cooperative basis. In 1890, they joined together to form the “Verband Schweizerischer Konsumvereine” (VSK). In the course of a fundamental realignment, the company was renamed Coop in 1969. The Coop Group is supported by around 2.5 million members and operates a dense network of supermarkets, department stores, service stations, restaurants and other stores throughout Switzerland. Many retail goods are manufactured in its own production facilities (including Swissmill, Coop bakeries, Steinfels Swiss, Nutrex rice mill). Coop generated CHF 34.2 billion in sales in 2022 with nearly 95,000 employees.
Picture source: Vincent Ghilione via Unsplash (29.04.2023)