Switzerland's troubled national exhibition, Expo 02, has lost another major financial sponsor, in the latest setback for the organising committee.
Jakobshorn-Bahnen SA, a ski lift company based in Davos, announced on Tuesday it was withdrawing its donation of SFr6 million, which had been earmarked for the construction of a modular hotel in Biel, one of the venues for Expo 02.
The 90-bed hotel was to have been built to accommodate Expo 02 visitors before being transferred to Davos at the end of the exhibition. Expo 02 is slated to run for six months from May 2002.
Lorenz Schlaefli, in charge of accommodation facilities for Expo 02, said the company was withdrawing for financial reasons, and not because it no longer believed in the national exhibition project.
"This is another setback for the national exhibition which is going through a period of crisis," admitted Schlaefli.
Two other modular hotels will still open in Neuchâtel and Yverdon in time for the opening of Expo 02.
The pullout is another blow for the beleagured Expo 02 director, Nelly Wenger, who has already had to contend with the withdrawal of two major sponsors, SAirGroup and the mobile telecommunications company, Orange.
Orange withdrew its SFr15 million investment in mid February. This decision was soon followed by SAirGroup, Swissair's parent company, which announced it was pulling out of a SFr6 million sponsorship agreement.
swissinfo with agencies