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Blue chips set to report results

UBS tops the list of those Swiss blue chips reporting over the coming week Keystone

A host of Swiss blue chips will report their half-time numbers next week, as the financial reporting season continues.

On Tuesday, Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, will reveal its interim figures.

Early analyst estimates forecast a downturn in profit of nearly 40 per cent over the second quarter after write-downs on its private equity portfolio.

UBS, the world’s largest private wealth manager, was cheered after its first quarter results in May showed it reversed outflows of client money in private banking.

However, Marc Rubinstein, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, believes “the most interesting thing wasn’t that they had net inflows, but that they could take costs out in private banking.”

Swiss flavour to fragrance group, Givaudan, will also reveal its results for the second quarter on Tuesday. The company, which is based in Geneva and was spun off from healthcare group Roche last year, saw sales rise five per cent in the first quarter of 2001.

Former Givaudan owners Roche will open up their books for public scrutiny on Wednesday. The pharmaceutical to diagnostics group’s second quarter numbers will be in focus following its recently announced cost cutting programme.

At the end of May, the Basel-based group announced 3,000 job losses in its flagship pharmaceuticals division in a bid to improve profitability.

Also revealing results on Wednesday will be another Basel-based company, Clariant. The speciality chemicals group revealed flat sales over the first quarter of 2001 at SFr2.598 billion ($1.49 billion). However, it said that it expected business to pick up from mid-year.

In the travel and tourism sector, Switzerland’s largest holiday group, Kuoni, is expected to uncover some disappointing results on Wednesday.

Only last month, the company warned that its first half and full year profits would be significantly lower and well below market expectations.

Kuoni has been trying to regain stability after a power battle at the top, while also recovering from its failed 1999 merger with Britain’s First Choice Holidays.

The biggest numbers of the week come on Thursday from another Basel-based group, Novartis. The life sciences giant has been under a cloud of late after the launch of its asthma drug was delayed in the United States.

Despite the delay, Novartis has stuck to its forecast of double-digit sales growth in 2001.

by Tom O’Brien

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR