EIGHT FACTS ABOUT NOVARTIS

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In our new SMI series, we give you the facts about Switzerland’s biggest companies. First up is Novartis, the world’s fourth largest pharma company by revenue.
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Coople cashes in on the growing gig economy
Coople, the Swiss-founded on-demand recruitment platform, just bagged USD 32 million in a Series C round from investors, including Goldman Sachs. Three years after the company expanded into the UK, it plans to use some of the funding to launch in the Netherlands and “one other international market.”

Switzerland seeks tighter trade ties with East Africa
A trade mission from Switzerland will head to East Africa next month as the continent tries to move beyond oil and mining. The region, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has taken ‘’huge steps’’ to lower trade barriers, says Barnaby Fletcher, regional associate director for the consulting firm Control Risks.

Appetite grows for renewable infrastructure investment
Infrastructure projects in the renewable sector have become increasingly attractive, with average running costs halving over the past decade, according to Jean-Francis Dusch, global head of infrastructure at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management. He predicts growing investor appetite for these projects in the future.

Novartis “on track” to bring one of the most expensive drugs to Europe
From medical acquisitions to tech developments and even an additional possible share buyback in the future, Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan explains how he plans to spend as free cash flow jumps 26 percent in the latest results. In an interview with CNNMoney Switzerland’s Hannah Wise, Narasimhan reaffirms plans to bring the highly controversial drug Zolgensma to Europe.

A stock exchange that measures social returns
As impact investing gains in popularity, the industry is coming under mounting pressure to develop standards for evaluating real change. Karen Wendt, CEO of Eccos Impact, says one “market solution to end the mess” would involve setting up a stock exchange for these assets.

Expect more green regulations in wake of elections, says UBS economist
With Switzerland’s two green parties making historic gains in national elections yesterday, UBS Switzerland’s chief economist Daniel Kalt says he expects more regulations to come concerning sustainability. But he warns against bans or excessive government intervention, calling for incentives such as a tax on carbon emitting fossil fuels instead.

A “free for all” direction in trade not the way to go, says Evenett
Ahead of the IMF meeting in Washington D.C. and the Brexit vote in the UK, Simon Evenett of the University of St. Gallen talks about the future of multilateral agreements and globalization in general. In his view, the large economies are moving in a “free for all” direction where countries won’t respect the rules and will grab as much market share of the world market as they can. “I think it is the wrong way to go,” says Evenett.

Climate is a key issue in Swiss national elections
Climate concerns are key among voters ahead of this Sunday’s national elections. Turnout is also expected to pass 50 percent for the first time in 40 years.

Apple on track to outsell the entire Swiss watch industry
The shift from analog to digital is leaving Swiss watchmakers behind amid growing demand for watches that do much more than tell time. Apple has grabbed about 50 percent of the smartwatch market in just five years and will probably sell more watches this year than the entire Swiss industry, says Alexander Linz, head of content at WatchAdvisor.com.

Negative interest rates benefit robo-advisers, says Decartes Finance
In recent months, there has been a backlash against robo-advising. But Adriano Lucatelli, co-founder and CEO of Descartes Finance, sees the current negative-interest-rate environment as being advantageous to robo-advisers since saving costs is crucial for consumers.

Smile aims to become the Netflix of insurance industry
Smile, the direct insurance arm of Helvetia, says it benchmarks itself against tech companies like Netflix, as it looks to shake-up the industry with its monthly subscription model and mobile-first approach. CEO Pierangelo Campopiano is targeting premium volumes of CHF 100 million in the next year.

SNB was right to refrain, says Safra’s chief economist
The Swiss franc is still trading at roughly the same level against the euro as a month ago, when the Swiss National Bank refrained from cutting rates. “That’s a surprise,” says Karsten Junius, chief economist of Bank J. Safra Sarasin, adding that it shows the Swiss economy didn’t need another round of easing.

Everything you need to know about the Swiss A220 fleet grounding
The latest grounding of the Swiss A220 fleet over engine concerns has impacted 100 flights and roughly 10,000 passengers. It’s the third incident for this aircraft since July. CNNMoney Switzerland’s Olivia Chang reports on the latest details.