1 million Switzerland companies added to OpenCorporates

Switzerland has been on our list of a target jurisdictions for quite a while, so we’re very pleased to announce that it is now available in OpenCorporates as the 118th jurisdiction.

One of the significant challenges in adding it has been the federated nature of company registration in Switzerland – each of the 26 cantons operates its own registry.  Luckily, Zefix (the local name for the Federal Commercial Registry Office) operates a central names index of all the companies registered in Switzerland. They also usefully offer a SOAP XML webservice, allowing us to retrieve new companies or updates whenever a gazette notice relating to a company corporate action (such as a new registration or a name change) has been published.

Another challenge has been the choice of company numbers – the main company identifier we are using is the Zefix “EHRA ID” (English: Federal Commercial Registry Office Identifier or “FCRO ID”). This is the primary key used by Zefix to uniquely identify a company in their index. It pre-dates newer IDs such as the Federal Identification Numbers assigned by Cantonal Registers since January 2000 (in format CH-XXX.X.XXX.XXX-X) or the Statistical Office-allocated federal Enterprise Identification Numbers allocated since 2011 (in format CHE-XXX.XXX.XXX). Using FCRO ID allowed us to obtain a wider variety of older, inactive companies from Zefix than just those with the most recent identification system.  We do store the additional identifiers, and they are shown on the company page, and via the API.

In total, around 1.1 million companies have been added, covering both active and dissolved companies.

The Company data we are publishing covers:

  • Company Number
  • Company Name
  • Alternative Company Names (French, German, Italian or English translations of the company name)
  • Previous Company Names
  • Company Status (German only)
  • Company Type (German only)
  • Local or Foreign Branch flags & links to the parent companies where available
  • Incorporation Date
  • Dissolution Date
  • Registered Address
  • Business Classification Text (in original language)
  • Links to relevant Gazette notices obtained from Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce (where matched)
  • Links to other OpenCorporates data items, such as licences or subsdiaries

This information will be updated following the publication of gazette notices relating to a company.  We recognise that only summary information is available from Zefix, so we are planning to gradually expand our data coverage to include the additional information available from each of the cantonal registers.


Photo: “Swiss Alps” by Artur Staszewski (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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