All eyes on the future of Swissair Group

More news expected about the Swatch/AOL Time Warner deal

The markets will be keeping a close eye on the Swissair Group's share price after the measures announced last week to try to restore confidence in the aviation group. The Swatch group is also expected to reveal more details about its link-up with AOL Time Warner.

This content was published on April 27, 2001 - 17:05

Shares gained last week on news of a new SFr1 billion franc loan and the imminent withdrawal from two loss-making French airlines, but there is a long way to go before the share price - which has dropped 60 per cent this year - begins to climb back to a respectable level.

Analysts say the next few weeks are likely to see a consolidation with little more news expected from the management until the summer.

The world's biggest watchmaker, the Swatch Group, holds a news conference on Wednesday to sketch in the details of its results last year.

Swatch posted record results last month, driven by strong sales of luxury brands like Bregue, Blancpain and Omega, and says it expects growth of between 10 and 15 per cent for the current year.

That forecast raised some eyebrows among analysts who doubt the company can meet such targets in the light of the economic slowdown in the United States and the ongoing depressed climate in Japan.

The company may also give further details about its tie-up with AOL Time Warner announced last week. Under the agreement, the two companies are to jointly promote their products and services. Swatch says it will benefit by gaining a presence on the US media giant's online, print and television platforms.

The annual general meeting of the newly privatised Unique Zurich Airport is held on Thursday. The chief executive, Josef Felder, has been angered by the new agreement between Switzerland and Germany which will cut by around a third the number of flights out of Zurich able to fly over German soil.
The agreement is due to come into effect in three years' time.

Felder is also expected to face tough questions about alternative flight plans and the effect of the agreement on future profits.

In a quiet week for corporate results, Tecan - a leading supplier of automated laboratory equipment for research, industry and medical sectors - comes through with first quarter figures on Thursday.

by Michael Hollingdale

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