Swiss companies API: Meet The Business Register of Switzerland
The key information on Swiss companies: the central commercial register of Switzerland Zefix and its datascope, Switzerland company types, total number of Swiss companies, 2021.
In today's article, we present another European business register - the Swiss Zefix. If you want to learn more about other reliable public sources of information about foreign companies, check out our previous articles in the series — Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and UK.
Meet Zefix, Switzerland Business Register
The official Switzerland Business Register is called Zefix Zentraler Firmenindex, which means when translated into English Zefix — Central Business Name Index. This commercial register of Switzerland is subject to Federal Departement of Justice and Police and contains all Swiss companies, legal persons and institutions as well as general partnerships and sole proprietorships.
The economic information contained therein comes directly from the Central Commercial Register of Switzerland and 14 cantonal registries of commerce where the legal entity has its seat.
The database of Zefix contains the most important information which is helpful in verifying Swiss companies, but if we want to obtain any original documents and certified excerpts, we must order them directly from the appropriate cantonal registry (AG — Aargau, AI — Appenzell Innerrhoden, AR — Appenzell Ausserrhoden, BE — Bern, BL — Basel-Landschaft, BS — Basel-Stadt, FR — Freiburg, GE — Geneva, GL — Glarus, GR — Graubünden, JU — Jura, LU — Luzern, NE — Neuchâtel, NW — Nidwalden, OW — Obwalden, SG — St. Gallen, SH — Schaffhausen, SO — Solothurn, SZ — Schwyz, TG — Thurgau, TI — Ticino, UR — Uri, VD — Vaud, VS — Valais: Brig (Oberwallis), VS — Valais: St-Maurice (Bas Valais), VS — Valais: Sion (Valais Central), ZG — Zug or ZH — Zürich).
Swiss business register Zefix was established in 2003 but the data of all cantons has only been there online since 2008. Earlier, electronic publication has not been mandatory.
Switzerland companies search
Zefix — Central Business Name Index website is easily accessible here:
It has four language versions: German, English, French and Italian.
You can find a Swiss company there relatively easily and intuitively. All you need to do is enter the name of the legal entity or its business identification number used in Switzerland which is abbreviated as UID. You can also narrow down your search results by selecting the appropriate canton, company seat and its legal form.
Switzerland business register Zefix sample with a Swiss company profile looks like this:
As you can see in the attached example, the basic section headings have their English translations (the entry shows whether the company is registered in the commercial register of Switzerland as active or not, or what its basic registration numbers are), but the content of the section itself is not automatically translated from German.
Importantly, from the Zefix level, we can go directly to the website of the relevant commercial register of a given canton, e.g. Commercial register of canton Zurich. And from this level of the local register of companies, we can even download and print a document confirming the Swiss contractor’s verification.
What kind of company information business register of Switzerland, Zefix, provides?
Central business register of Switzerland, Zefix, provides only basic information on Swiss companies. These details include the following:
- company name
- company status (active or not)
- UID number (the business identification number used in Switzerland)
- EHRA-ID number (federal Commercial Registry Office Identifier or “FCRO ID”, which is the primary number used by Zefix to uniquely identify a company in their index)
- identification number issued by RAB (known also as FAOA, which is an institution responsible for licenses and audits)
- company legal form name and abbreviation
- legal seat
- purpose of company
- company address
- date of registration in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (SHAB)
- date of entry into the canton commercial register
- information on company relations with other entities.
Switzerland company types
As mentioned above, absolutely all legal entities registered in Switzerland can be found in the Swiss business register portal, Zefix. Switzerland company types do not differ much from those we know from other European countries. We can find here both joint-stock companies, limited partnerships and sole proprietorships. The only thing that can surprise you is the so-called GmbH company.
GmbH companies are found in both Switzerland and Germany and are very popular. GmbH is a legal form meaning a special type of limited liability company. Special, because unlike traditional LPPs, GmbH can be established by a single person.
Here is a list of Switzerland company types & a useful dictionary:
- Einzelunternehmen — one-man business (sole proprietorship)
- Aktiengesellschaft — joint-stock company
- GmbH — GmbH
- Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung — Company with limited liability
- Kollektivgesellschaft — General partnership
- Kommanditgesellschaft / Kommanditaktiengesellschaft — Limited partnership
- Investmentgesellschaft mit variablem Kapital — Investment company with variable capital
- Kommanditgesellschaft für kollektive Kapitalanlagen — Limited partnership for collective capital investments
- Investmentgesellschaft mit festem Kapital — Investment company with fixed capital
- Genossenschaft — cooperative
- Zweigniederlassung — branch
How many companies are in Switzerland? 2021
According to the Zefix central commercial registry, from which our Swiss companies API collects data, there are 647,4 thousand active companies in Switzerland in January 2021. On the other hand, there are a total 4,2 million enterprises in the Zefix register, including the historical ones, which no longer exist. This translates into information on over 253,000 key people in business.
The number of companies in Switzerland, broken down by specific types of companies, is as follows (as of January 2021):
- 203,9 thousand GmbH
- 213,6 thousand joint-stock companies
- 164,1 thousand sole proprietorships
- 11 thousand general partnerships
- 7,8 thousand cooperatives
- 1,7 thousand limited liability companies (LPP)
It is worth bearing in mind that although Switzerland is a small country in terms of its surface, it is inhabited by over 8.5 million people, and the economy of this country is at a very high level. The Switzerland Human Development Index (HDI) ranks 2nd in the world and GDP per capita ranks 9th.
Swiss Companies API
As a global company data provider, of course, we could not fail to provide economic information from Switzerland. Our Swiss Companies API extracts real-time data directly from the Zefix commercial registry and forwards it to customers’ internal systems.
Our full Swiss Companies API documentation you can view HERE. In turn, you can read about our company and its solutions on our Transparent Data website.
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