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SAirGroup is bound to feature in business news once again this week as the markets weigh up the aviation conglomerate's appointment last Friday of Mario Corti as its new chairman.

Corti, the only board member not to resign on March 9, has a tough challenge ahead to turn the company’s fortunes around.

The rest of the board is stepping down after taking collective responsibility for mounting losses estimated at SFr2.5 billion in the past year. The jurist and economist from canton Ticino is currently the chief financial officer at food giant, Nestlé.

Shares in the SAirGroup made up some lost ground following Corti’s appointment last week and investors will be keeping a keen eye on the share price this week, too.

More company results for the year 2000 are expected.

The Basel-based Clariant, a leading producer of specialty chemicals, is due to post results on Tuesday – analysts are forecasting net profits of around SFr500 million. The company has already reported an annual sales increase of 16 per cent to SFr10.58 billion.

But net profits are likely to be hit by its acquisition of Britain’s BTP. The deteriorating outlook for the US economy has also prompted many analysts to downgrade forecasts for the current year.

The industrial group, Von Roll, is schedule to release its figures on Tuesday as well. Forecasts for net profit are about SFr20 million. Sales figures released in January showed an increase of 11 per cent to SFr1.7 billion.

The travel agency, Kuoni, is expected to show record net income of around SFr120 million when it publishes annual results on Wednesday. Kuoni has recently been following a strategy of specialising in holiday tours and business travel.

Zurich Financial Services is also publishing results on Thursday. The company is in the midst of a major reorganisation to boost efficiency and make the group more customer-focused.

As part of the shake-up, it recently announced the loss of 230 jobs at its headquarters, which is expected to lead to savings of SFr200 million.

The company warned investors last month that net income this year would fall short of 1999’s figure.

by Michael Hollingdale

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