Alcon Will Move Global HQ to Switzerland After Proposed Spin-off from Novartis

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BASEL, Switzerland—Alcon a global leader in eyecare and a division of Novartis (NYSE: NVS) announced yesterday that it plans to locate its future global headquarters in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, following completion of its proposed spinoff from Novartis next year. Alcon's new global HQ in Geneva will be the primary location for Alcon's senior corporate leadership and other corporate and commercial functions. It will be co-located with Alcon's Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regional office, which is already based in the city. The new premises will be in a modern office complex offering world-class services and amenities, including close proximity to the Geneva international airport.

"We are delighted to announce Geneva as the location of Alcon's new global headquarters following the proposed spin-off from Novartis," said David Endicott, CEO, Alcon. "For more than 40 years, Alcon has had a significant presence in Switzerland, which is known for its progressive business climate and innovation-friendly policies. Being headquartered in Geneva will help further increase Alcon's global scale and reach to better serve our customers."

A spokesman for Alcon told VMAIL at presstime that the company “doesn’t expect any changes” in its presence in the Fort Worth location. Alcon currently has about 650 people based in Switzerland, he said. While final details are being worked out, Alcon could employ up to 700 people in the Switzerland location post spin-off. Alcon's current global divisional headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, will remain “a major operational, commercial, and innovation hub for the proposed standalone company.”

Last June, when the spinoff of Alcon into a separately-traded, standalone company was confirmed, the company said it would maintain a presence in Fort Worth, as VMAIL reported, where Alcon has been based since its foundation in 1945. At that time, Novartis disclosed that Alcon would be incorporated in Switzerland with listings planned on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

Alcon corporate and EMEA employees will begin moving to the new Geneva location in 2019.

Completion of the planned spinoff of Alcon from Novartis is subject to general market conditions, regulatory approvals, final endorsement by the board of directors of Novartis AG and shareholder approval. Required information and consultation of affected employees and employee representatives is ongoing. In the event that all approvals are secured, the planned spinoff is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

The transaction is expected to be tax neutral to Novartis, subject to the receipt of favorable opinions and rulings. Novartis intends to continue paying a strong and growing dividend in Swiss francs, building on the CHF 2.80 per share paid in March 2018. The proposed distribution ratio will be disclosed in due course, the announcement said.