Chapter | Switzerland and the Great Powers 1914-1945 | 1999

Multinational Cross-Investment between Switzerland and Britain 1914-1945

by G. Jones

Abstract

This chapter examines multinational cross-investment between Switzerland and Great Britain between 1914 and 1945. While Great Britain and Switzerland were both major home economies for multinationals,few companies from either country were interested in investing in the other country. The British companies which invested in Switzerland came from the most competitive elements of the British economy, and included firms such as Lever, Coats and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which were amongst the country's largest multinationals. Switzerland was never a large market for any of them, and during the 1930s they found the country difficult because of extensive government regulation, as well as political nationalism. In contrast, Swiss companies were attracted by the size of the British market, but they often preferred to export until tariffs made this strategy difficult during the 1930s. In consumer goods, both Nestle and Wander built successful businesses in Great Britain, but other firms such as Hoffman-La-Roche and Sandoz found multinational investment in that country much less easy.

Keywords: History; Multinational Firms and Management; International Relations; Investment; Great Britain; Switzerland;

Citation:

Jones, G. "Multinational Cross-Investment between Switzerland and Britain 1914-1945." In Switzerland and the Great Powers 1914-1945, edited by Sebastien Guex. Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1999.