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Business Outlook

It is another big week for corporate news as companies continue to publish their half-year results.

Among those reporting this week is the specialty chemicals group, Clariant. The company, based near Basel, says it expects operating profit to be significantly higher than for the same period last year.

Shares in Clariant have fallen recently after disappointing sales figures for the first six months of 2000. But the group has said sales are expected to pick up in the second half.

It says market conditions for its textile, leather and paper chemicals division have improved because of a recovery in the United States denim business.

The country’s biggest telecommunications operator, Swisscom, comes through with its half-year results on Tuesday.

Last week, it announced a sweeping reorganisation that was well received by the markets. The move includes spinning off the company’s mobile phone business into a separate unit. A good set of half-year figures could push the share price up further still.

The engineering group, Von Roll, also releases its results on Tuesday. The company is increasingly focusing on its core businesses — environmental technology, engineering and electrical insulation systems.

On Wednesday, Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann will report its first half figures. The company, which is in the process of a major reorganisation, is looking for a buyer for its drinks division and a sale is expected sometime later this year. After completion, the company aims to concentrate on its real estate business.

Thursday sees the country’s second biggest bank, Credit Suisse, release its latest numbers. Analysts will be keen to see how the bank is shaping up in an increasingly consolidating sector.

The dollar is still above one seventy against the Swiss franc, although this is slightly off recent highs. Data from Germany last week suggesting that Europe’s biggest economy was slowing down hit the Euro, which dragged the Swiss currency down.

Expect an interest rate rise this week when the European Central Bank comes together for its fortnightly meeting. The Swiss National Bank may not be long in following suit.

by Michael Hollingdale

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR