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Markets unimpressed with Unaxis results

Unaxis' profits have taken off after joining the high-tech sector Keystone Archive

Shares in the technology group, Unaxis, fell more than five per cent during trading on Monday despite annual results that showed a 10-fold increase in net profits.

Analysts attributed the fall to the company’s less than optimistic outlook for the current year, and said that much of last year’s profits were down to a series of divestments as Unaxis continued to transform itself from an old-style industrial conglomerate.

Unaxis, known until last year as Oerlikon-Bührle, posted net profit of SFr511 million ($310 million) for 2000, almost 10 times the amount reported by Oerlikon-Bührle in its last year of operation.

Operating profit also rose sharply by 155 per cent to SFr314 million.

The company provides manufacturing equipment and services for the semiconductor, data storage and optical components industries.

The group said it expected sales in 2001 to decline slightly on a comparable basis and warned that operating profit would fall because of the downturn in the information technology sector.

Analysts fear the company will be more seriously hit by the downturn in the United States.

But Unaxis said in a statement that it expected further substantial income from divestments. Sell-offs already carried out include the fashion and shoe store, Bally, as well as Oerlikon Contraves Defence and the Zurich Marriot Hotel.

The group has also just negotiated the sale of the aircraft maker, Pilatus, for SFr250 million.

Unaxis on Monday proposed paying a dividend for the first time since 1998. It said the payout would be SFr2 per share.

swissinfo with agencies

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