Case study: Switzerland

The Shell Pecten is the key symbol of the Shell brand (photo)

Photo left: The Shell Pecten is the key symbol of the Shell brand. Shell Brands International owns most Shell trademarks and is based in Switzerland.

Shell has centralised insurance, trademark management and currency hedging services in Switzerland. We have 300 branded retail sites in the country, which serve around 80,000 customers every day, and a lubricants blending plant. We employ around 120 people in Switzerland.

Switzerland had a low-tax regime that has been the subject of public scrutiny. On January 1, 2020, Switzerland implemented tax reforms to replace certain preferential tax regimes with internationally accepted measures. The new measures have resulted in a combined regional and federal tax rate of 12% from 2020.

Here we provide more information about the service activities performed in Switzerland and the essential role they play in supporting our business activities.


Shell is exposed to material risks which are predominantly insured by a Shell entity in Switzerland. We maintain capital and reserves in the event of a claim and we employ professionals with finance and specialist insurance expertise, including in-house actuarial expertise. Shell’s insurance operation is licensed and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Trademark Management

Shell has a number of trademarks used by both Shell companies and third parties including those that own and operate some of our retail sites. Most Shell trademarks are owned by Shell Brands International AG (SBI), which is based in Switzerland.

SBI owns, licenses, enhances and protects the value of Shell trademarks. SBI receives royalty payments from Shell operating companies and third-party licensees. Revenues from third-party licensees account for around 50% of the total trademark royalty revenues.

Shell companies pay for the use of the trademarks in the same way as third parties. This is in line with international standards as defined by the .

Our trademarks are registered with the relevant government agencies in many jurisdictions. SBI owns and manages a portfolio of about 15,000 registered trademarks.


Shell issues bonds in the financial markets to raise funds. In previous years, some of these funds had been used by a company registered in Switzerland to finance some of our operating companies.

From 2020, we no longer provide these financing operations from Switzerland. A company registered in the UK now provides most of these financing operations. The UK is one of our existing treasury service locations.

International groups like ours are exposed to movements in the value of different currencies as part of our normal business operations. Sometimes these currency movements create gains and sometimes losses. In 2019, the changing value of different currencies resulted in a loss. Shell substantially reduced its hedging activities in Switzerland at the end of 2019.

Royalties are generally payment due for the use of an asset. Mineral royalties are payments to governments or other owners for the rights to extract oil and gas resources, typically at a set percentage of revenue less any deductions that may be taken. See also Trademark royalties.
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Transfer pricing
This refers to the setting of the price for goods and services sold between related entities within a group. Transfer pricing should be based on the arm’s length principle. This means that profits are allocated to the countries where the relevant economic activity takes place and cannot be artificially taken somewhere else.
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OECD stands for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development which is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
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