The world's biggest biotechnology company, Amgen, has chosen the Swiss city of Zug for its international headquarters.
The firm, which until now has had its European headquarters in Lucerne, has yet to decide whether to open a major production facility near the capital Bern.
"We have decided to build our international headquarters in Zug," Rolf Hoffmann, Amgen's head of international operations, told the Finanz und Wirtschaft business paper.
The company will move its offices from Lucerne to Zug in December. The new headquarters will manage the group's activities in Europe, as well as in Asia, Russia, Australia and Latin America.
"We will be running our international affairs from Zug and not from California," said Hoffmann. "This is very important for Switzerland."
Amgen's headquarters are in Thousand Oaks, California.
No factory decision
The group has still not decided whether it will build a factory outside Galmiz, not far from the capital Bern.
"We still don't know if we need to build a new facility," said Hoffmann, who added that a fast-growing company was always faced with capacity problems.
Switzerland could, however, be a candidate for a new factory, with its population's high level of education, an excellent infrastructure and a very good geographical position, according to Amgen's head of international operations.
Hoffmann also pointed out that the Swiss government was pursuing policies that were favourable to biotechnology and made Switzerland financially attractive.
Amgen's plans have sparked outrage among environmentalists who are incensed that farming land might be used for such a centre.
But local government is keen to attract the firm and the estimated 1,200 jobs that would come with it. The authorities in Galmiz have also voiced their support for Amgen's plans.
The Swiss economics minister, Joseph Deiss, met company representatives last December to discuss tax breaks.
Other sites are in the running, including one further south near Yverdon. Ireland is also apparently being considered for the planned production centre.
swissinfo with agencies
Amgen is based in Thousand Oaks, California.
It will open its new international headquarters in Zug.
The group employs over 14,000 people worldwide.
Total revenue in 2004: $10.6 billion.
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