Losses have been worse than expected at Swiss optical storage equipment maker 4M Technologies as special charges pushed the company's numbers into the red. However, 4M said on Friday that there were signs of a market recovery.
The technology group, based in Yverdon, revealed a net loss for last year of SFr72.5 million ($41.98 million), after suffering a charge of SFr39.5 million for stock write-downs and restructuring.
The 13-year-old company first forecast it would make a loss after feeling the effects of a downturn in the compact disc and computer disc market.
The company said there were signs that a recovery in its markets had begun and it had a "significant increase" in new orders in the first quarter to some SFr17 million, compared to SFr4 million in the last quarter of 2000.
A statement said that the results were in line with the first quarter 2001 budget and based on the company's current appraisal of the situation, it was confident to remain "on track" for the rest of the year.
4M said its sales for 2000 were 49 per cent lower at SFr116.7 million and it expected a rise in full year 2001 sales of 10 per cent.
The results were a direct consequence of the manufacturing overcapacity in the recordable optical disc industry and the severe price erosion that resulted from the fierce competition between the leading equipment manufacturers, the statement added.
The company also said that a cost reduction programme started last year would result in some SFr10 million of savings in 2001. This is partly due to a reduction in the number of staff from 345 to 240.
swissinfo with agencies