André & Cie - one of the world's largest raw materials traders - is to close its commercial operations in Lausanne with the loss of 100 jobs. The latest cuts, announced on Friday, come after the company failed to reach an agreement with its banks to reschedule its debts.This content was published on March 9, 2001 - 18:59
André & Cie lost SFr285 million in 1999 and owed its bankers SFr554 million at the time.
The latest redundancies follow a previous round in January, when the company cut 75 jobs from its Swiss workforce of 240. At the time, André & Cie warned that up to 850 jobs would go worldwide.
The company was founded in 1877 in Nyon by Henri André, when it imported cereals and Italian pasta. The company gradually grew out of its original base to cover the whole of Switzerland before entering the French market.
André & Cie reached the pinnacle of its success in the 1980s, when it traded in 70 countries worldwide.
Analysts say the company's decline set in during the last decade after a series of missed chances. Georges André, the third generation director of the firm, remained in charge of the company until well after his retirement.
"As long as he was in charge, we really had to abandon any ideas of restructuring the group. For him, restructuring meant abandoning a part of what he and his father had built up," said his son, Henri.
The closure of Andre & Cie's commercial operations in Lausanne will reduce the company's presence in Switzerland to only a management office.
swissinfo with agencies
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