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SIG to announce arms division sale

Swiss industrial holdings group, SIG, has concluded the long-awaited sale of its loss-making small arms and rifle business, but has yet to disclose the value of the deal.

Trade in shares in the company, which is increasingly focusing on packaging technology, was halted on Wednesday by the SWX Swiss Exchange at the company’s request.

SIG, based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, said it would give details at a press conference in Zurich later on Wednesday.

SIG has said there had been intensive contacts with groups interested in buying the arms division, but has not named them.

SIG, founded in 1853, has been transforming from a diversified company built around machinery and engineering businesses into a global group focused on packaging technology.

Its total sales in 1999 reached SFr2 billion ($1.1 billion). The company has more than 7,000 employees.

The arms division, which makes firearms for law enforcement, and military and special units, includes household brands such as Mauser and Sauer. It had sales of SFr70 million in the first half of this year.

It posted an operating loss of SFr2 million over the same period, compared to a profit of SFr5 million over the same period of 1999.

Apart from the arms division, which employs 771 people, SIG also wants to sell its Positec division under its refocusing drive. Positec makes electrical motors and automation software and hardware for the textile, packaging and printing industries.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR