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Acquisition helps Oerlikon boost profit

Oerlikon's products include the ColorWheel, which is used in multimedia projection Oerlikon

Swiss technology group Oerlikon has reported first-half net profit of SFr136 million ($113 million) boosted by the takeover of engineering firm Saurer.

This content was published on August 28, 2007 - 08:36

The result fell short of analysts' forecasts but the group said it was on course to beat its 2007 sales target.

Operating profit (Ebit) was up 83 per cent, at SFr231 million.

"Overall we are confident that the sales targets for the full year of more than SFr5 billion will be exceeded by as much as ten per cent and an Ebit above SFr500 million will be achieved," Chairman Georg Stumpf said.

Analysts had predicted a first-half net profit of SFr166 million.

Saurer has been part of the Oerlikon stable since 2006.

Victory

In 2005 Austrian investment group Victory bought out Oerlikon, which was formerly known as Unaxis.

Although Oerlikon remains one of Switzerland's technological heavyweights, the company has suffered in recent years from a combination of alleged management problems, difficult market conditions and what many analysts see as the lack of a clear strategy.

But in March Oerlikon reported a net profit of SFr302 million for 2006, its best performance in six years.

In a surprise move two months later, Oerlikon chief executive Thomas Limberger announced his departure, less than two years after taking on the role.

Recently speculation has been rife that Victory may have to sell out because of losses caused by recent market turmoil.

If Victory does sell its stake in Oerlikon, a likely buyer will be Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch who is consolidating his business interests in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Oerlikon's high-tech applications can be found in cars, satellites, machines, textile products, solar panels, MP3 players and beamers.

In 2006, Oerlikon invested SFr60 million in research and development. Including Saurer, there are more than 1,500 researchers, developers and engineers working for the group.

OC – which stands for "One Company" - Oerlikon has had a number of name changes over the years. Before its present name, it was called Unaxis. Previously it was Oerlikon-Bührle.

The group is the world leader in coating solutions and textile machinery, and is number two in the area of vacuum technology.

Over 30% of all hard discs, 70% of all CDs and C-ROMs, and 90% of all rewritable CDs, DVDs and MiniDiscs are produced with Oerlikon systems.

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Key facts

OC Oerlikon 2006 financial figures:
Sales: SFr2.291 billion (SFr1.605 billion in 2005).
Operating profit: SFr329 million (SFr34).
Net profit: SFr302 million (SFr21 million).
Number of employees at the end of December: 19,267 (6,434).

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