CSL chooses high-cost Switzerland over Australia for new plant

Biotherapies company CSL has decided to build a new, $500
million plant in Switzerland due to factors including a lower corporate tax
rate and government assistance.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the $33 billion
manufacturer short-listed four countries, including Australia, before deciding
on the Swiss option.

Switzerland has high currency and labour costs, but it
understood the importance of productivity in light of these, according to CSL. The Swiss
corporate tax rate, at about 18 per cent, is also lower than Australia’s approximate
rate of 30 per cent.

“These countries like
Switzerland they get it that they’re competing,” chief financial officer Gordon
Naylor told the Australian Financial Review, also praising Switzerland “expeditiously”
managing approvals.

“[In Australia] there’s actually not a
national imperative to compete.”

What will be produced at the Swiss plant will be based on R&D carried out in Australia.

The CFO said that the decision may have been
different if Australia has in place a “patent box” scheme for manufacturing,
currently being proposed by the country’s biotech sector and involving a lower
tax rate applying to R&D commercialised and manufactured locally.

Image: http://annualreport.csl.com.au/