Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Swatch Group AG, the maker of Omega and Tissot timepieces, reported its lowest first-half profit in seven years, weighed down by weak demand in Hong Kong, France and Switzerland.

First-half operating profit declined 54 percent to 353 million francs ($359 million), the Biel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Thursday. The company said last week that earnings at that level probably fell 50 percent to 60 percent. 

Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek told Bloomberg News July 15 that sales for the year may fall as much as 6 percent, abandoning a previous forecast for growth, though the company would try to get as close to zero as possible. Terrorist attacks in France are keeping tourists at bay, denting sales. Swatch repeated Thursday that second-half results will show improvement as the comparison gets easier.

Sales slid 11 percent to 3.72 billion francs, and the decline was 13 percent at constant exchange rates. Swatch said July 15 that revenue probably fell about 12 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew Boyle at mboyle20@bloomberg.net, Thomas Mulier

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