List of the 3 largest trading companies in Switzerland
The Swiss traders with by far the highest turnover are without exception active in energy trading or commodity trading – including Vitol, Trafigura, Glencore, Mercuria or Gunvor, all of which are also part of our list. However, these players often have multiple corporate headquarters (including in Switzerland) and/or form complex international trading entities that are not always easy to navigate. In the following, we therefore present not only commodity trading groups, but also heavyweights from other sectors.
1. Vitol SA, Geneva
The Vitol Group has two headquarters – one in the Netherlands (Rotterdam) as well as one in Switzerland (Geneva) and with a turnover of over 500 billion USD (2023) is one of the world’s largest corporations of all and thus, of course, also in Switzerland, unchallenged at number 1 in the turnover ranking. The company was founded as early as 1966; in the meantime, Vitol has become the largest global commodities trader and the fifth largest coal trader in the world – alongside Trafigura, Glencore and Gunvor. As is not unusual in the coal business and raw materials mining, Vitol also operates in the absolute area of tension between respect for environmental standards and compliance with human rights. In this context, the Group has also set up its own foundation, the Vitol Foundation, with a focus on education and environmental protection.
2. Coop Cooperative, Basel
Coop is a true retail giant: From supermarkets and department stores to restaurants, pharmacies or gas stations, the Swiss cooperative plays the complete repertoire of the retail industry. With a turnover of CHF 34,200 million (2022), the wholesaler is also one of the very large retail players worldwide. Interesting side note: Within 7 years, sales increased by over 7 billion euros (2015 sales: 26,932 million CHF), which is absolutely remarkable from a growth perspective.
3. Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, Zurich
When one thinks of Switzerland, one also thinks of Migros – the retail group is simply too present in the end. The business area of the diversified and vertically integrated group of companies is very diverse. At its core is retail trade; at the same time, however, Migros is also a conglomerate with other strategic business areas: Wholesale, Industry, Financial Services, Travel and Tourism. With sales of CHF 30,138 million and 97,727 employees (2022), Migros as a whole is an important cornerstone of the Swiss economy.
On the map to your left, each trading company in Switzerland is marked by a dot. As you can see, most of the companies in our list are located in the northern, eastern, western parts of Switzerland.
Included information in this list
- Company name
- General contact data (address, e-mail address, telephone number, URL)
- Serial letter suitable for addressing the management (e.g. “Sehr geehrter Herr Dr. Müller”)
- Name of the management
- Sales figures for the years 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 as well as employee figures for the years 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 (taken from the annual and consolidated financial statements or public directories)
- Field of activity
Note: If the sales and employee figures are not included in a company’s own financial statements but in the parent company’s consolidated financial statements, the data from the respective consolidated financial statements are provided.
The statistics on the left show the distribution of trading companies in Switzerland across the various major regions. The Zurich metropolitan region is home to the largest number of trading companies, with 37 firms. This is followed by Northwestern Switzerland with 34 trading companies and Central Switzerland with 27 companies.
Picture source: Markus Spiske via Unsplash (21.02.2022)
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