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Optimistic forecasts about the performance of the Swiss economy in 2000 will be put to the test this week with the release of a large batch of corporate sales data.

Luxury goods group, Financier Richemont, is set to reveal its final sales numbers for 2000. After what was a good year in 1999, initial predictions are for a continued improvement in 2000.

Analysts say the strong performance of rival luxury goods group, LVMH Tiffany, suggests that good numbers are in store for Richemont, too. Market expectations are for a 20 to 25 per cent increase in sales for 2000.

Richemont controls a number of luxury brands including jewellers Cartier, pen makers Mont Blanc, and watch group Jaeger LeCoultre.

The medical technology group, Tecan, is due to reveal its final sales numbers on Tuesday. Analysts are also upbeat about its prospects, with most forecasting a 35 per cent increase in sales for 2000.

The market will be keen to see how Tecan's robots used for the testing of mad cow disease have faired in recent months.

Last week, the company announced plans to focus on the proteomics field by launching a separate division for the business and buying a specialist firm. Proteomics is the study of how the information contained in genes is translated into proteins and how proteins then interact.

Results are also expected from the pharmaceutical sector. Bachem is set to reveal its final sales and operating profit figures for last year. Analysts expect a 12 per cent increase in sales but flat operating profits.

Bachem, founded in 1971, was listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange in June 1998. The company is a leading manufacturer of peptides for the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries. It also manufactures a range of amino acids, enzyme substrates, lipid antibodies and their derivatives.

by Tom O'Brien

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